Skip to main content

Full text of "The peasant in nineteenth century fiction"

See other formats

U N 1 V ER5 ITY 


The person charging this material is re- 
sponsible for its return to the library from 
which it was withdrawn on or before the 
Latest Date stamped below. 

Theft, mutilation, and underlining of books 
are reasons for disciplinary action and may 
result in dismissal from the University. 


^o£ only; 

L161 — O-1096 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



A. B. Illinois Woman's College 



Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the 

Degree of 








June 1, 19 ?.Q_ 


SUPERVISION RY I^ar./ -.Vhiteside 

ENTITLED The Peasant in nineteenth Century Fiction 


THE DEGREE OF master of Arts in English 

Recommendation concurred in* 

In Charge of Thesis 

Head of Department 



Final Examination* 

Required for doctor's degree but not for master's 


"Las Romans Champ^tros" of GoorgQ Sand* 

Although FrancQ haa a much better ddfined class of 
pQosantry than England, her literature, and especially her fiction, 
had been, until almost the middle of the last century, curiously 
lacking in the peasant type of characters • Prosateurs evidently 
thought the subject of the rustic unworthy of their pains, until 
as one outcome of Rousseauist ic thinking and the "Romantic Imagine 
at ion," it was brought before the public by George Sand, in her 
charming pastorals. Even the cynical Ur, Babbitt, after contrasting 
her "kingdom of dreams" with Balzac's "empire of Chimeras ," concedes 
that "her idealized peasants are not any further from the truth and 
are certainly more agreeable than the peasants of Balzac*"^ ' George 
Sand herself realized, I think, that her characters were idealized, 
but she cons idered this an exaggeration toward truth; it did not 
come. Mm Zola points out, 'from a lack of observation but rather, by 
a deliberate use of the real for a purpose* It is strange that U* 
Zola, himself a follower of Balzac, and a supreme realist, should 
hall this opposing literary figure as a "worker of progress, the 

apostle of a blessed existence," She explains her deliberate ideal- 
ization, herself , as a manifestat ion of conscious artistry: "If the 
artist remains below his thought and yours, if he has disregarded 
in human types the imprint of Divinity under a sordid interpretat ion, 
condemn him; but if, in studying the real conscientiously, he has 
respected the nobility of the celestial origin, do not search around 

1. Babbitt, Irving, "Rousseau and Romanticism": p, 107. 

2. Zola, Smile, "Documents Lit t eraires": p, 19^ ff. 


yojjL for tho muRM and tho traita of tho models. Thoy QxUt without 
doubt, in real it]/, beoausQ nothing is invented outside of what the 
senses can perceive, and even the gods present th&nselves to the 
imagination under human features; but, in translating themselves 
under the hand of a true artist, these models, fine or common, 
ferocious or gentle, enter into a new life in the form of striking 
abstract ions and of imp&* ishable types. 

Later she says that art was not a study of positive 
reality, but a search for ideal truth. In ''Questions d' Art et de 
Litterature," she expresses her resolve to paint only those objects 
and men that have appealed to her sympathies , and insomuch as this 
personal element - the understanding of creat ures as she knew them - 
replaced wild abstract ions , her work ceased to be "a loose and lyric 
flow of innumerable words and became, in its simplicity, a study 
of life. 

Out of her own intimate experience with peasant life, 

I believe, came George Sand's picture of them. She told Flaubert, 

once, of having entertained a certain Norman comedian a true 

Norman who sang for us the true songs of the paysans in their own 

language," She remarked that there is there an unknown mine of master 


pieces of their kind." Whether or not she ever used such a secon- 
dary source for the thoughts or motives of her characters , it is cer- 
tain that she knew these rustic people as some of her best friends." 
She tells the life-story of a neighbor at Nohant , Pierre Bonniti, who 
neither knew how to read nor write, but who was a marvellous and 

1. "Jean de la Rochet: Avant-Propos , 

2. Strachey, Q. L. , "French Literature": p. 22^. 
J. Correspondence avec Flaubert: p. J^J, 


untiring worJiman, When she paid him what ho folt to &© her last 
visit - for h9 was thQn a wodk o2d man - ho toJd hor simply, "I 
onJoyod labor • I havo nothing to rogrot but loss of hoaJth, and one 
othor thing, which was fatod not to bot I should havo likod to bo a 
soldior, and booomo a gonoral, an omperiorl " 

Bis rostloss onorgy lod hor to bolievo that in him 
woro nogloctod powors, and sho wonder od what a man Piorre might havo 
boon had ho boon givon a man's ohanoom 

Amant ino-LiLQilo-Auroro Dupin - for so sho was ohris- 
tonod - was born of an aristooratio, ovon noble family. Her young 
soldi&^ fath&*, however, had shown his indopondent and democrat ic 
spirit by marrying Mile, Sophie Dolaborde, a daughter of the people, 
Bor father had been a bird-seller in Paris, and she had led a some- 
what quos t ionable existence on the city streets. The dashing and 
romantic Captain Dupinwas killed in IdOQ, when Aurore was but four 
years old, and she was immediately taken by her grandmother, at 
Nohant, with whom she spent h&f* girlhood days • Nohant was destined, 
moreover, to bo hor own home in later years and it is this old Manor 
house, in the isolated little province of Berry, which binds hor to 
the peasant life she know and loved so well, Hor childhood play- 
mates were the untutored offspring of the unlettered country-folk 
around Nohant, "We watched the herds , "she said," that is to say, we 
did not watch at all, and, while the goats and sheep foraged in the 
young wheat, wo formed square dansos, or better, we tasted, together 
on the grass, our flat coir as, our cheese. The pears and the wild 
apples, the grapes, the ripe fruit - all was regal to usl"^ She knew 
1, Historic do ma Vie, Vol III: p, Ji. 


"Fanohon, Pierrot, Roaotto and Sylvain;" thoy romped together over 
the fieldi 9 telling one-another the tales heard at their respective 
fire-places* This close intimacy of her childhood made her instinc- 
tively understand the peasant's heart, and bound her sympathies to 
them forever. "It was there, "^said M. Moselly," that her soul open- 
ed up to that marvellous comprehension of the rustic soul - simple, 
patient, robust • Strange stories, terrible legends haunted these 
primitive imaginations , legends born from the noises heard in the 
twilight, of forms who were believed mysteriously to inhabit the air, 
crickets, corcerers , wild beasts, wolf -drivers , and nocturnal washer- 
women. All the people of these qpparitions filed before the eyes 
of the frightened child and her work, later, was penetrated by this 
mystery • The author's nature pictures of the peasant are coloured 
by an unconscious expression of her philosophical ideas, but the best 
parts of them are evidences of a sincere love that had been instilled 
in her in early childhoodm Thus the peasant to her, then, could neve ' 
become a creature worthy of interest and observation or even of pity; 
her sympathy for him was profound; she considers him her equal and 
worthy her estime and love, 

Aurore's education was, on the whole, quite desultory. 
She had a tutor, Deschartes, and had, as a fellow-student, a pea- 
sant^girl , Ursule, Her patrician grandmother was a disciple of Jean 
Jacques Rousseau and she applied his educational doctrines to Aurore, 
The regime of open-air exercise and careless freedom for children 
was manifesting its vogue as a reaction from the stern discipline of 
classical training. The grandmother had renounced the Catholic 
i* Uoselly, Smile, "Les Femmes Xllustres 

faith and was what wa$ vaguely known as a Dotatt but tho child had 
had no rgJigious training at a22, and had oonatruot&d for horaoJf a 
primitive philosophy. This happy -go -lucky existonoQ, howovQr, was 
rudely checked, when, at the age of thirteen, Aurora waa sent to the 
Convent dea Anglaiaea in Paria^ She remained there but three year a, 
but during that time ahe waa once the leader of a band of ^^diablea" 
and waa known as "Madcap," and again was tTirown into a violent at ate 
of relifious aaoetioiam, Mme* Dupin removed her because the enthuai- 
aatic child waa threatning to become a nun. 

Her unhappy marriage, which waa an "affaire de con^ 
venance," and ita unhappy oonaequencea , are known to all who have 
ever read anything of her life, Sone critica have wondered if we 
ahould ever have heard of Oeorge Sand, the literary figure, had her 
life with M» Dudevant been happy and her daya apent quietly at No~ 
hant, however; her mia fortune in the match may have been the good 
fortune of the reading world. She had two children - Maurice and 
Solange, but aoon after the latter 'a birth in 1826, ahe obtained per 
miaaion from her huaband to go to Paria to work on the staff of the 
Figaro with an old friend, Jules Sandeau, This atep was a deaperate 
attempt to earn money; she had already tried painting, and had fail^ 
ed» In 18^1, Sandeau and Mme, Dudevant published, together, a novel 
"Roae et Blanche" under the aaaumed title "Julea Sand," Hotwithatand 
ing ita poor construction and ita stupendous improbability, this 
novel became immensely popular, so much ao that, taking the non^du- 
plume of "George Sand," Mme, Dudevant publiahed her first novel, 
"Indiana" in 18^2, Thus began a aeriea of aocial - even aooialiatic 
romancea, which, although popular among a revolutionary public at 


tha tims of publication, will not stand the tQSt of logical argrmont 
and which would have bsgn bettor storios, had the wild ravings of un- 
wholesome radicalism been omitted* About then. If* Renk Doumic, the 
eminent nineteenth century critic, says, "George Sand has more genius 
thcofx talent* Her social theories are ludicrous; she is not what Ume. 
du Stael would call an '^crivain penseur.* The humanitarian, social- 
istic and revolutionary doctrines seem to her to give form to that 
instinct of pity that is within her*"^' 

In the case of the first group of socialistic novels, 
which deal with the question of marriage, this "instinct of pity** 
for others of her sex, must have been closely bound to a reali^at ion 
of her own maritial plight* Indiana is a young, temperamental girl 
who was ill-mated to a tyrannical old colonel and exposed to the 
seductions of his diabolical friend, Lovelace* She was saved in the 
end by her chivalrous cousin, Ralph* "Valent ine" is another story of 
an unhappy marriage, but in neither it or "Indiana" does the author 
directly scorn existing inst it ut ions . 

In 18^^ Mme, Sand met the poet, Alfred de Ifusset, and, 
after a mad love experience of six months, in Italy, she returned to 
Paris, outwardly unembittered; but in that year appeared "L^lia"and 
"Jacques", the culmination of this first series of her novels, and the 
ones in which appear her most dangerous social theories, and which 
show a bitter revolt against things as they are* At the apex of the 
course of this unsettled thinking, the hero Jacques cries, "I do not 
doubt but that marriage should be abolished if the human race would 
make any progress toward Justice and reason; a bond more human and 
1. "Theories Sociales de (George Sand: Preface* 


no Joaa saorod will replace it and will imure the oxiatgnQo of 
Ghildron who will be born of one man and one »9man$ without ever 
destroying the liberty of either*** 

Fortunately - and oharacter is t ioally, too - Ifme, Sand 
turned from this unstable morbidity, which was only destructive in 
nature, and became a political radical, hoping that 9 by legislation, 
she might be an influence for the substit ution of something better 
for the present code of living* She was introduced, by their common 
friend, Fram Liszt, to the poet^priest , Lamennais , in 16^4, 
Christianity , to Lamennais, was a faith "without superstition and 
doctrines of Romish infallibility"^^ it was, in short, a religion 
for hu mani ty* This was the ideal of George Sand, and she became 
enthus iast ic over a religion which, to her, was synonymous with 
social reform* She soon met the famous lawyer and fiery radical - 
Michel de Bourges* It is the influence of this man, and of the 
philosopher , Pierre Leroux, which is manifested in the novels, 
"Compagnon de Tour de France," "'Le P&che' de U* Antoine," and 
"Le Ueunier d' Angebault *" These are tedious in that she at tributes 

to her heroes and heroines merely the long preoccupations of har own 
brain* Her novel "Horace" was rejected in 1640, by her old publis^ 
hers, the Revue des Deux Uondes staff, because it was considered 
subversive to law and order* uJSmile Faguet sees her social ideas 
prominent in all her works, and seems to think her main purpose is 
always to set forth some ethical dogma* "In everything^' he says, 
she sees or dreams of a social reorganization based on Justice, and 
more on goodness than on Justice*" Like M* Doumic, he assumes that 
1, Thomas, l^rtha, "Oeorge Sand*" 

2* Faguet, Smile, "XJX Si&cle Etudes Lit ter aires": p. ^88. 


hor th9ori9t oom9 from some indefinite altruistic instinct within 
her . 

"It is this goodness," he says, "this love of the vaeah 
which had inspired her confused, chimerical politics » She grave her 
whole heart to the ideas of the emancipation of women, of the pro- 
letariat and Of the peasant, between the years 26^^ and 184Q» She 
sought, with good faith, the abolition of tyranny, of aristocracy 
and of riches," 

Curiously enough she herself denies any didactic mo- 
tive in her writing; she declares her obJeot to be only selfish, 
Even in the revolutionary "Lelia," the novel in which she "puts her- 
self into the s^in"^'of her heroine, she declares that she has no 
system, belongs to no school, and never thinks of the public when sht 
writes', Faguet quotes Ume* Sand as saying,"! am very much a woman in 
ignorance, the lack of sequence of ideas and of logical construction'. 
Perhaps it is because she was a woman in politics, that she was so 
dishearted and withdrew from public life so precipitately when, in 
1Q46, the radical government she had heralded so enthus iast ically, 
proved, in reality, only a terrible farce, U, Zola regrets that so 
much eiKphasis has been placed on this phase of her work, and on her 
supposed Amazon - like characteristics, Balzac describes her as 
most mannish in appearance and personality; she should be considered 
and Judged, therefore, as a mar?,' For Zola, she had always remained 
a woman, and in her feminine characteristics came her weakness and 
her genius, "She herself, "he said, "was mistaken when she dreamed 

1, Correspondence avec Flaubert: Letter XXXIII. 

2, Lelia: Notice, 

J. "Les Femmes Illustres": p, 166, 


for an instant of thQ rolo of rovolutionary moralist 

ThQ insurroQtion of June, 2346, filled hor with horror, 
and she went home to Nohant, after the patriotic services to the 
Minister of the Interior of the Provisional government » Her disen- 
chantment almost meant the overthrow of her political faith, but her 
belief in the natural and inevitable progress of humanity, did not 
waver* This experience - liJie h&r unhappy marriage - proved a stim- 
ulus to her art* She seemed to renew her faith in a simple idealism, 
and to set to work with a new mission, 

"The artist, she said, 'who is only the reflect ion and 
the echo of a generation like his own, shows the imperious need of 
turning his JooA bac)s, and of distracting his imagination, in 
carrying his thoughts baolt toward an ideal of calm, of innocence, 
and of dreams* Bis mission is to celebrate swgetness , confidence, 
friendship, and to recall thus to hardened and discouraged men, 
that pure manners, tender sent iments and a primitive equality are 
or can be, still, in this world* Direct allusions to present 
misfortunes , the appeal to passions - that is not at all the path 
of safety; it is better to sing a sweet song, to hear the sound of 

rustic flutes, than to reenforce the evil realities by the colors 


of fiction*" • 

She had been, at Nohant, on occasions , since 16^^, 

when her divorce proceedings wesre begun* She staid in the village 

1* Zola, Emile, "Documents Lit teraires" : p. 210* 
2* "George Sand et Ses Amis": Chapter XXIV* 


of La Ch&tre, and in hor tramps and oxaurs ions through the familiar 
oountrj^, ahs fait liho a ohild, returning to its spiritual mothor. 
Nature, In her letters to Ume» d' Angoult at this timet she mani- 
fests a curious mixture of romantic revelry in nature. Deist ic 
philosophy, and certain radical political ideas which she was then 
enter taining* 

"To throw yourself into tha lap of mother nature," 
she exult ingly writes in 16^6, "to take her really for mother and 
sister: stoically and religiously to out off from your life what- 
ever is mere gratified vanity: obstinately to resist the proud 
and the wicked: to make yourself humble with the unfortunate, to 
weep with the misery of the poor; nor desire other consolation 
than putting down the rich; to acknowledge no other God than Him 
who ordains Justice and equality upon men; to venerate what is good, 
to Judge severally what is only strong, to live on very little, to 
give away nearly all, in order to reestablish primitive equality 
and bring back to life the Divine institution; that is the religion 
that I proclaim in a little corner of my own, and that I aspire to 
preach to my twelve apostles under the lime-tree in my garden*"^' 

After her divorce, in 1Q^6, she took a short trip to 
Switzerland with her friend, the Countesse d' Agoult, Upon their 
return, the party went to Nohant , where, in the Spring, came also 
that celebrated group, which frequented Ume* d* Agoult's salon in 
Par is • The little company included Heine, Daniel Stern, the artist 
Eugene Delacroix, Hiller, Franz Litz and Fr&d&ric Chopin. The 
J. Letter to Mme. d* Agoult, July 10, 18^6. 


company amusQd them3Q2vQ3 by staging 2itt2Q theatrioa29 for the 
Qhi2drQn about Nohant , with Chopin improvising at tha piano, ThQ 
marv922ous mu3iQa2 mirac2QS in "Lqs MaitrQS SonnQurs" are supposed 
on2y raminisQQncQS of 2ik9 episodes or spe22s woven by the magio 
of Liszt's or Chopin's p2aying. The inf2uenoe of Chopin, of course, 
was even more p9rsona2, for he ia supposed to have been mad2y in 
2ove with her. He aooompanied Qeorge Sand and her son Uaurioe, in 
2Q^8, to the 2one2y is2and of IfaJoroa, and was very i22 there, so 
that Ume. Sand had to be nurse for her friend, as we22 as her son, 
through a 2ong, damp winter. This incident, however, finds its 
importance in the deve2opment of Chopin's art, rather than George 
Sand 's . 

Whi2e yet very young, Aurore Dupin read Chateaubriand's 
"Rene,** and whi2e yet a ohi2d, beoame an avowed pupi2 of the Master 
of Romanticism Rousseau. Her first impression was profound, but 
served rather to make her hate man than to 2ove nature. "I fina22y 
read Rene," she te22s us, " and I was s ingu2ar2y affected by it. It 
seemed to me that Rene vas I. A2though I had no frisfht 2ike hia 
in my 2ife, and was inspired by no passion that oou2d motivate 
such power, I fe2t myse2f crushed by a distaste for 2ife, which 
seemed to me to give growth to motifs in the nothingness of a22 
human things."^* She a2ways 2oved nature, and, when but a chi2d, 
under the tute2age of Deschartes, b90an a study of it. She 2oved 
to tramp in the woods with the peasant ohi2dren, and 2ater with 
her own boy and gir2, and examine a22 the mean creatures of the 
2. Histoire de Ua Vie: Vo2. Ill, p. 


fiQld;"thQy stop at Qaah flowQr, at oach insQOt which ohirps in 

tho tall strass, and the insoQt, the plant, the minQral becomQt 

following f;.9 prQQdpt of RoussQau, tho occasion of an object 

l933on of living natural history."^' A true "daugthter of Jean - 

Jacques," shQ always loved nature in a revelling, selfish sort 

of way - she loved nature for its own sahe, but in communion with 

it, she always felt herself helped and inspired. 

"If we were in Paris," she writes, "we would go from 

time to time, to listen to music, to refresh our souls. Since we 


are here in the field, let us listen to the music of nature*" 

Nature not only soothed her feelings and ministered 
to her spirit, but it taught her, like Wordsworth, the practical 
moral lessons of life. 

"Since I have delved into true nature," she writes 
Flaubert, late in life," I have found there, an order, a sequence, 
a placidity of evolution which are lacking in man, but which man 
may, up to a certain point, assimilate, when he is not too directly 
at the mercy of the troubles of his own life* When these troubles 
return, it is necessary indeed that he force himself to cast them 
away; but, if he has even once drunk of eternal truth, he no longer 
cries out for or against a transitory or relative truth*"^' 

To her, she writes Flaubert, a life among the flowers, 
the rocks, the wide open fields* children - was a necessity. Her 

1. "Les Femmes Illua tres": p. 17^. 

2. "Questions d' Art et Lit t&rat ure": p. 284. 
J. Correspondence avec Flaubert: p. 89* 

nature aa pass tonatQjy demanded it as the warrior's spirit demanded 

warfare. In another letter she telJs him that she loves everything 

about her, no matter where she is; then she naively says that it is 

true she chooses her own places t and stays away from the Senate and 

"autres mauvais Jieux," She never liked Parisian life, and she 

staid there simply to gain a livelihood. In view of the fact that 

"Cadis" did not %uooQed, there is a tone of sadness in the remarks, 

"I have left my dear world peaceful at Nohant , If Cadis succeeds, 

there will be a little dowry for Aurore; that is my whole ambitionm" 


If it does not succeed, I must commence again, that is all»" 

As Qeorge Sand had lived most of her life among the 
class of honest, hard-working peasants , she entered enthusiastically 
into Rousseau' s vague and idealized philosophy concerning them. 
Their simple life, as she knew it, was poetic and beautiful - a 
manifestat ion of the goodness of nature, for they were subject 
only to the rules of a primitive society. To her, their honest 
work seemed the secret of their happiness • 

"The happiest of men, "she asserts," would be that 
one, who, possessing the knowledge of his labor and working with 
his hands, pursuing well-being and liberty by the exercise of his 
own intelligence, would have time to live by his heart and his 
soul, to understand his work and to love that of Clod," 

In an imaginary conversat ion with a friend, she 
says she often dreams and longs to throw off the yoke of civili- 
zation so that she may, like the simplest of men, enJoy life by 

1, Correspondence avec Flaubert: p, 1^7, 

2, "La Mare au Diable: p, 22, 


fQQlings and inst incta • "J would dQSire to ho, "shQ gxclaima what 
actual society pormita many men to be, from the cradle to the tomb, 
I would deaire to be a peasants the peasant who does not "know how 
to read, that one to whom Ood has given good instincts , a peace- 
ful society, a right conscience; and I imagine that 9 in this lack 
of useless faculties , in this ignorance of depraved tastes, I would 
be as happy as the primitive man pictured by Jean - Jacques ."^ ' 
These simple people know and love nature through 
feeling, they enJoy it and understand it without being able to 
describe ftt" or to use another paradox applied by George Sand, 
to children, "They think without understanding," There must be some 
bond between the primitive life and the "machine-life," she argues 
with her imaginary friend, so that those who can only know by under- 
standing, may see the "candor, the grace, and the charm" of the 

primitive lifs. Sentiment alone can connect knowing and feeling* 


and, to George Sand, "sent iment is art," * Art is the demons tra- 
tion of which nature alone should be the proof; the artist's duty, 
then, is to connect the simple life with the more complex - to 
translate the unknown in terms of the known, 

"Art is the work of trans format ion from the pr imitive 
to the civilized, Mozart sings in the tongue of men, the songs of 
the birds; Shakespere makes us feel the pass ions , the sentiments 
and the instincts as the most primitive and true man would feel 
them; this is art,"^' 

1, "Prangois la Champi": p, 1^, 

2, "Francois le Champi": p, 8, 
J. "Franqois le Champi": p, 11, 

ThQ QXQQllenQQ and the virtue of "la vie primitivQ** 
lay in its oloaenoss to nature, which, to a true Rouaseauist , was 
the epitome of goodneaa. The Balzac Zola and Ifaupaasant , this 
cloameaa to nature made him a rude, brutal, illiterate creature - 
repulaive to a refined reader, but George Sand ahowa ua "the 
peaaant of ideala and feelinga, of dreama born out of hia eternal 
dialogue with the forcea of nature*"^' She did not idealize him, 
I think beoauae of any aooialogical meditation - ahe did not hgar 
"the atill, aad muaic of humanity," aa Wordaworth did; ahe wrote 
about the peaaant hecauae ahe aaw and admired the beauty and ain- 
cerety of hia nature. It waa not a matter of condeacena ion, but 
rather an honeat express ion of her own ideal of purity. The uae 
of the peaaant, then, waa not a mere literary device, for art for 
art 'a sake waa to her loatheaome. They were human beings, and, 
though far removed from the "vie factioa," they were dominatod by 
the aame motivea and had the aame conflicting forces within them 
aa other man. It was only because their Uvea were conductive to 
the development of s implicity and goodness, that George Sand choae 
to make them embody her search for truth. I hardly think it true, 
then, that her work ia in a "kingdom of dreams," and that ahe re^ 
presented the opposite of truth. 

"Balzac and Sand," U. Zola says, "are the two types 
from which spring all the novelists of today. From their brgasts 
flow two streams, the river of truth, and the riv9r of dreams." 

1, Lapaire et Roz, "La Bonne Dame de Nohant." 

2. Zola, "Documents Litt6raires": p. i5>J. 


In tha NotioQ of "La liaro au DiahlQ" Qaorgs Sand 

dafinitely announced hor intantion to lorita a sertos of pastoral 

romancQS - or, to usq har tarm, "novQJs of ruatio mannars ^" At 

first shQ thought aha would plaoa tham all undar the tit la of 

"Vaillkas du Chanvrgur," but tha last of the grroup, "Las Mattras 

Sonnaurs is tha only ona which might proper ly faJl undar such a 

haadm She denies that she is writing in a new tongue, or that she 

is trying to revive a lost one, and insists that she is doing 

nothing new "in tracing out the thought that leads civilized man 

to the charms of tha primitive Jf/e." She deorioa tha parsistanoo 

of literary critics in pointing out definite designs and motives 

for her work - motives of which she, herself, was ignorant. 

"I am always astonished," she says$ "that the critic 

searches in them (her works J so long, when tha simplist idea, tha 

commonest circumstances , are tha only inspirations which productions 


of art should have." 

She finds herself woefully lacking in the ability to 
give a true picture of the simple and beautiful which she felt. Her 
greatest literary service, then, she considered, was to give a 
stimulus to her read^s, to look for the nature which she felt. 

"If one should ask me," she explains in the Notice, 

"what I wanted to do, I should answer that I desired to do something 

very touching and simple, and that I have not at all succeeded. I 

have seen, I have felt, the beautiful and the simple, but to see and 

to paint are two different things; all that an artist can hope to 
1, "La Uare du Viable": Notice. 


do, is to inspire those who have eyas, to look, too, Sqq, therit 
simplicity, my readers; see the sky and the fields, and the trees, 
and especially the peasants in their truth and goodness: you will 
see them a little in my hook, hut you will see them much better in 

Ume. Sand had now definitely transferred to a field 
more gently, yet more powerfully influent ial to the thought of her 
times than her former enthusiastic contribut ions to the political 
Journals, It was unfortunate that Ume, Sand's antagonists in 
politics, under the erroneous impression that she could never write 
except when advancing some radical social doctrine, carried over 
their prejudice to these country tales. They supposed that the 
stories were purely Rousseauis tic in exalting the virtue of ig- 
norance as compared with thQ evil sophist ioat ion of society. As a 
somewhat whimsical apology, I believe, for her former misplaced 
energies in political work, she wrote, in 18^^, to Uazzini: - 

"J am and always have been an artist before anything 
else, I know that mere polit icians look on artists with grQat con- 
tempt, but you, my friend, you well know that a real artist is as 
useful as the priest or the warrior, and that, when he respects 
what is true and good, he is in the right path, and the divino 
blessing will attend him. Art belongs to all countries and to all 

times, and its special good is to live on when all else seems to be 


1, "La Mare au Diable": Notice, 

2, Quoted in l/iss Thomas' "Oeorgg Sand," 


Ear literary aaJvation, as wall as thQ vary oxistsnoQ 
of thQ "Romans Champ^trQa must bs duo to thQ fact that shQ raal- 
izod hQr duty to art and its stability f when, in 1848, hor social 
ideals, for which sha had labored diligently, searnQd tottQring with 
hor political doctrines. ShQ camg, then, to the "ri^t path," the 
path toward her ideal of simplicity and truth, in the subJact of the 
peasant, as she knew him. 

She had no theories about the construction of these 
novels. She told Falubert that the wind played on her harp as it 
pleased, high or low; she was nothing but an instrument through 
which another sang." Her only dogmas were independence of thought 
and simplicity of manar. She had in mind not only "la vie fact ice" 
as a public but also the simple people of whom she wrote. " I have 
tried, "she told her friend Flaubert ," to make mysolf understood 
by the simple, for they ought to read; they are simple who make 
s ucoess ."^ ' Her friend, in the Introduction to Frangois le Champi, 
advises her: - "Begin; tell ma the story of le Champi* Tell it to 
me as if you had at your right hand a Parisian speaking the modern 
tongue, and at your left, a peasant before whom you would not das ire 
to use one phrase, one word which he could not understand. Thus 
you ought to spaaJf clearly for the Parisian, naively for the 
peasant. The one would reproach you for a lack of color, the other 
for a lack of elegance"^' 

Previous to 1846, George Sand had occasionally usad 
peasant characters as " aooossories ," with an increasing idea of 

1. Correspondence avec Fdjubert: p. 169. 

2. "Frangois le Champi": ^p. 20. 


their importance. In 28^6, while at La ChdLtre ponding court pro- 
ceedings in her divorce auit, she wrote the novel, "ifauprat 
Although the principle characters belong to the nobility of France, 
there are two uncouth, romantic figures which prefigure some of 
the rustic characters of a later period. Patience, the almost super- 
human peasant wizard, is used rather as a force for the action and 
as a voice for the author's vague social theories, than as a human 
being, influenced by contact with other men. In her dedicat ion to 
Guatave Papet she says, "I have drawn my materials in part from the 
cottages in our Noire Valley, and possibly from these simple folk 
she heard the romantic tale of a legendary wizard, whom she named, 
"Patience." She does not at all mean to consider him as a type 
of the peasant class, and she carefully makes Bernard explain, "Be 
is the only peasant I have ever known to admire the sky; or at 
least, he is the only one I have ever seen who was conscious of his 
adm iration."^* 

Patience gives express ion to George Sand's Rouss eau- 
istio doctrines . He cries out with evident passion, 

"Nowhere is there a school where they teach us our 
rights; 'where they show us how to distinguish our true and decent 
wants from the shameful and fatal ones; where, in short, they tell 
us what we can and ought to think about, when we have borne the 
burden and heat of the day for the profit of others and are sitting 
in the evening at the door of our huts, gazing on the red stars as 
they come out on the horizon." 

1. "Uauprat": p. 147. 

2. "Uauprat": p. 1^0. 


The old phiJosophQr voicQs, cont inously, bitter fn- 
V9QtivQ3 against the ariatocrisy, and yet he aoom, Qonaervat iveJy, 
to Qling to a realization that their nobility has become a thing In- 
herent, something which men of humbler origin oan never attain. 

"It is strange," he muses, "there must be something 
in bloodm Take the vilest noble, and you will find that in certain 
things, he has more spirit than the Isravest of us. Ahi It is simple 
enoughi They are brought up like that while we - we, they tell us, 
are born to obey.*" ^* 

In this earlier novel there seems always, to be a 
consciousness of class difference, and of the relation of a lower 
to a higher class. The philosophizing of Patience is very interest- 
ing, but it is not the Justification for his appearance. He is 
brought into the story because of the power of his weird personality 
which, in turn, helps to bridge over any gaps of improbability in 
the love story of Bernard and 3dm&e Mauprat; he is an impersonal 
influence, too, in the development of the savage character, Bernard. 
After the death sentence had been given Mauprat for the supposed 
murder of his sweet -hear t Sdmde, Patience appears, and througfh the 
power of his supreme personality, causes the sentence to be weigh- 
ed, so that he migfht give his evidence, which, because of the obs- 
curity of his mode of living and his failure to appear before, as 
a witness, he has found possible to obtain. Patience, too, was the 
means of first introducing to the boy Bernard's mind ideas of man- 
hood, foreign to the thought of the diabolical uncles with whom 
1. "Mauprat": p. 48. 


hQ livQd, Bornard, with aorriB poaaant boys, was going through the 

woods by the old hermit's door one day, when he threw a stone and 

killed Patience's pet owl. The old man flogged him - a gentleman's 

son - for it, - but the boy's pride was wounded worse than his body, 

and he began to feel a stubborn respoot for the goodness of the old 

wizard. Patience looked at him, with fine scorn, and said, 

"'But a Mauprat, look you, is a thing that knows how 

to read and write, and is only the viler for it alii" And later, 

picking up the dead bird, he said sadly, "'A peasant's child would 


not have done this; this is sport for gentle blood.'" 

The superstition of the peasants, as a people, in this 
its initial treatment , sesms to be humorous, rather than naive, 
to the author. It seems even a mark of cowardice. Before the child' 
incident Just narrated, Bernard had been trying to get his humble 
companions to accompany him through a lonely path that led by the 
hermit's door. They all wavered, and several refused to go. 

"'Not li said one of them, running wildly away. "'I've 
Just seen the sorcerer at his door saying magic words, and I don't 
want to have a fever all the year.'" 

A character more closely approaching the peasant type 
was the Hole-catcher , Marcasse. By his disappearance at an early 
stage of the story, he dropped out of the action, until his re- 
appearance at the time of the attempted murder of Edmde. From this 
time on until the end of the story, he is a faithful servant to 
Uauprat, who says that "he spent all of his time in expeditions 
in my behalf." Ifarcasse accomplished animal-like feats in climbing 
1. "Mauprat": p. 40, 


to thQ top of th9 tower and grappling with the savage Anthony 
Uauprat - the criminal and the man for whom Bernard had been im^ 
prisoned. This dog-like fidelity aeems the mark of an under-man. 
It seemed to indicate that George Sand at this time not ioeably 
subordinated her peasant to a higher social stratum. Maroasse 
s earned, however , to have a very simple moral code of his own, which, 
the author seems to indicate, arose from his simplicity rather than 
from any conflict of forces within him. 

"And his solemn oaths convinced me*" Bernard says, 
"for I knew that he would have tried in vain to lie, his simple 
soul would havQ risen in revolt against his charitable intentions 

George Sand, I believe, in 18^6, although she herself 
knew and loved the peasant, felt that her introduction of these 
characters in her novel would be considered as social revolution. 
She, therefore, carefully placed him as a servant to the con- 
servative characters , and treated him only in relation to the 
upper classes. Aa an apology for letting Marcasse and Patience 
enter so int imately in the wedding-party in Switzerland - and 
incidentally as an apology for giving them any claim to the 
thoughts and affections of her hero and heroine, Ume. Sand cautious 

ly explains, "There are circumstances that obliterate all distinct 


tions, real or imaginary, of rank and education." 

In 1844, appeared "Jeanne", the second novel of 

any importance in which George Sand uses peasant characters • 

1. "Uauprat" : p. ^29. 
2 "Uauprat": p. 40J. 

"JeanriQ" ia a romanQsquQ novo! in which an igmorant poaaant girl 
is tho horoina, but ia plaoad in a sQtting of quita consarvativa 
bourgeois , ^Jaanna" is a prototype of "La Mare au DiabJa" and 
"La Petite Fadette," but the peas ant ^heor ine does not Jive in the 
fields, but in a far-off, piot urosque, desert land* 

"I did not dare," wrote the author in the Notioe, 
in 13^2," to do then what I have dared later, to paint my type in 
its true place, and to surround it exclusively with rustic figures 
in harmony with the theme, so limited in literature, of its ideas 
and its s ent iments m" 

She seemed dissatisfied with the composite char- 
acter of the worh, with the lack of that impression of unity so 
necessary to literature, and she ascribes it partly to a lack 
of literary courage, and partly to a lack of time, for she had to 
rush off the pages for money » She felt that she had made a "novel 
of contrasts" and that she had splashed indiscriminately in her 
brilliant oils, that she had "profaned the antique nude with modern 
draperies •" She concludes her melancholy preface with the whimsical 

"Uay the reader be more indulgent with me than I am 
with myself:"^' 

She evidently had the purpose of idealizing the peasant 
for she dedicated her story to one of her humble friends, a poor 
peasant woman of Berry, Franco ise Ueillant, in these words, 

"you do not know how to read, my peaceful friend, but 
1, "Jeanne": Notice* 


your daughtar and mine havQ been to school. Soma day, on a winter's 
ov&riing, whilQ you spin your flax, thay will tall you this story 


which will baooma much more lovely in coming from their mouths.** 

Jeanne is a lovely young peasant girl, the daughter of 
the nurse of the handsome young baron de Boussact who lived in a 
distant village. He, with his friend, L&on Marsillat , happened to 
be passing by Jeanne's home, on a hunting expedition, when they 
stop and find that her mother has Just died. Upon the added mfs- 
f or tune of her home burning, that night, Qillame insists on taking 
her bach to his mother and sister at Boussao. Upon the advice of th£ 
our& of the near-by village, and because there is no alternative, 
Jeanne goes to the beautiful home of the baronne de Boussac. Thero 
she becomes a most charming, but humble servant of the family, and 
incidentally wins the love of Qillaume, L6on, and Gillaume's fine 
English friend, Arthur Harley. The latter wants her for his wife, 
but sha refuses him; Qillaume loves her passionately, but, because 
of the social traditions of his family, is afraid to marry her; 
L&on proves the bastard, and takes her off to his castle, from which 
she is rescued, finally, by her two nobler lovers. As a result of 
the harrowing experience, however, Jeanne becomes very ill, and dies 
before her sorrowing "parrain" and his courageious friend. 

Jeanne is so much an enthusiastic creature of 
George Sand's romantic thought, that sha sometimes seems void of 
any striking human characteristics. She knew neither how to rgad 
nor to write, but the author seems to exult in this rather than 
1. "Jeanne" : Dedicace. 


to 9XQUSO it, 3h9 watched the f2oQlia$ and, in dQnytng a "knowledgQ 
of hooka t shQ said nonchalantly, 

"J havo bQ9n raisod with the beasts. That is my 
work* It contented my mother*" ^' 

The peasant again, seems to be a means of bringing 
out George Sand's lightly veiled social ideas* Those simple 
creatures might well be astjonished at having been assigned ax* 
hortations on subjects of political economy. "The peasant," the 
author confidently states, "always sees with an evil eye any attempt 
to enrich oneself, and, although he has no idea of public economy, 
he has that Just idea of th9 social state, that none profits by the 
chances of fortune without it being to the detriment of those who 
do not profit,"^* 

As in "Mauprat ," there is here an evidence of sharp 
class distinction, Gillaume soliloquizes again and again on his 
inability to marry his love, because of the wide difference in 
their social standing; Arthur Harley is cons idered very uncon- 
ventional and rQVolut ionary to social organization because he seeks 
a wife in a class beloui himself, Jeanne could not ride to Boussac 
on the same horse with Q-illaume, but the humble Cadet was dispatched 
there for that purpose of being her escort, 

"The curd was right," the author sarcastically remarks 
"A peasant on a horse with a peasant would never make anyone talk, 

1, "Jeanne" : p, 77, 

2, "Jeanne" : p, 60, 


With a bourgtQois , it would have baen quite cLiffarant." 

But Jaanna, 2iha Patianoa, was not intanded to ha a 
typa* She was a romantiQ paraonality and not to ba comparad with 
the pros3» rapuJsiva La Gross a, har aunt 9 or avan tha passively 
good Cadet, Like the author, Gillaume had entertained exaggerated 
ideas about tha purity of the simple life, and, upon talking to 
some of these bald and uncouth creatures , he was disappointed in 

"He had loved the country, and the peasants from a 
distance, in his memory, ffe had pictured them grave, simple, austere 
as the Natchez of Chateaubriand* Nearer, he found them rude, un- 
couth, and cynical. He drew away, disgusted already with the desire 
he had had to chat with them.'* 

Their superst ition, in ''Jeanne," does not seem, as in 
"Maupat," to be cons iderad a mark of cowardice or even as conducive 
to fear, but still as an unfortunate weakness of their natures, 
Jeanne did not get a doctor for her sick mother because hermothar 
had taken tha fever under a certain ill omen, and was thus fated 
to die. The priest, in response to Gillaume' s query as to whether 
or not his parishioners were believers , said, 

"Too believing in a sense, because they believe every 
thing, the truth as well as the false, idolatry as well as religion, 
druidism as well as polytheism. The good and the bad spirits mingle 

J. "Jeanne" : p. 120, 



th9ir attribut ions around thair oxistgnoom** 

A augggation of the naivot^ and piQturoaquQngas of 
this supgratition, aa a dgfinitg part of thgir aimpJe oharmp ia 
introduogd upon thg gpisodg of thg a ad diaiJJusionmgnt of Jganng 
oonogrntng aomg mongy givgn hgr whgn a child. LAon, Gillaumg, and 
1* Anglais auddgnly rooognizgd in hgr thg alggping child in whoag 
hand thgy had quigtly plaood aomg ailvgr ygara bgforg. Shg thought 
thg fatgs had givgn it to hor and ahg had alwaya kgpt it aaargdly 
a agcrgt, aa an omgn of good fortung. Hgr charmingly illogical 
anawgr to thgir inquirigs about thg coins, forgshadows thg way in 
which Ggorgg Sand dgalt with pgaaant lifg in aft gr -ygara t 

"You wisgr paoplg havQ your idgaa and wg havg oura. 
Wg org aimplg - J prgfgr it so - but wg agg in thg figlda day and 
night, thinga which you do not agg and which you will ngvgr undgr^ 
atand* Lgavg us aa wg arg» Whgn you changg us, that brings us mia- 

ffgncgforth, in hgr pastorals, Ggorgg Sand ag&mgd 

happily contgnt to "lgavg thgm aa thgy wgrg." Shg no longgr spokg 

of and bgwailgd thg unJust diffgrgncga in thg strata of aociety, Shg 

alao aggmgd to agg, hgrgaftgr, what ia intimatgd in this spggoh, a 

futility in at tgmpting to glgvatg one or to lowgr thg othgr to tgrma 

Of aocial gquality. Shg lovgd thgm, as gvgr, but hgr lovg^now turngd 

bach to thg simplicity and sinogrity of hgr childhood affgotion. Al- 

J* "Jganng" ; p. 6^. 
2* "Jganng" : p. 220. 


though she felt that the hourgoois owed a debt to his humbla brothQr, 
shQ no longer, evidently, felt it her duty to preach social equalitym 

"The peasant," she wrote Flaubert , "is the class most 
isolated from progress, and consequently, the least civilized. 
Thinkers ought to be thankful not to be in that class, but if we are 
bourgeois , if we have come from the earth and owe thanks to it, can 
we not fill ourselves with love and respect for the sons of those 
oppressed by our fathers?"^ ' 

Two years after writing "Jeanne," the novelist boldly 
announced a series of pastoral romances, dealing with peasant people, 
alone. The first of this series was what is generally conceded to 
be her masterpiece. "La Mare au Diable." There is not a bourgeois 
in the book, and the rustic is shown independent of any other class, 
and dominated by the same motives, as other men* She treats him, 
then as she would other men, for "the dream of country life has been, 
at all times, the ideal of the village and even of the court." ' She 
now considered his aspirat ions as having intrins ic worthy Whereas 
before, she had considered any marked enthusiasm or ability on their 
part as evidence of "intellects grown sterile for want of development 
earnest minds extinguished for want of fuel," she now saw the 
opportunity of self ^development within their own sphere. She now felt 
that there was nobility even in peasantry. 

"I see on their noble brows the scutcheon of a Seigneur 

1. Correspondence avec Flaubert: p. 268. 

2. "La Mare au Diablo": NoticQ. 

^. Rooollections of Qeorge Sand: "Pierre Bonnin»" 


b9oaus9 thoy are born ktnsrs of tho Jond, more so than thoa9 who 


P0S39S3 tt for having paid for it. JTiey /90J th9ir simp29 nobility." 

Th9 idQa Of writing th9 atory waa inapir9d by a pic^ 

turg Of Holb9in*s . It rQpr9aQnt9d a poor, haggard labor 9r driving 

hia cart in th9 fiold, and being Jod on by the triumphant figur9 

of tha spectre, Death, Below waa the quatrain in old French, 

"A la aueur de ton viaaige 
Tu gagneraia ta pauvre vie; 
Apres long travail et uaaige, 
Voioy la mort qui te Qonvie," 

Thia conception of Renaaoenoe (Thriatianity, which a aw 

ita only aalvation by wiping out crime and mia fortune at death, waa 

wholly contrary to George Sand'a optimiatic apirit. She thought the 

emphasis should be placed on life, rather than death, and in her 

picture ahe would place at the worker 'a side, the figure of a happy, 

bouyant child, 

"It is necessary that the laborer, in sowing his grain, 
know that he is toiling at a work of life, and not that he should 
rejoice that Death marches at his side." 

The atory is the simple illustration of a very 
homely principle - that one often goes far to seek the good fortune 
that lies at his door. Germain, a widowed laborer, upon the advice 
of his father-in-law Maurice, seeks a wife who may care for his 
children. At the suggest ion of his "beau-pdre; he determines to go 
a quas i-distant village, to woo a rich widow, Catherine Leonard. He 

J. "La Mare au Diable": Notice. 

2. "La Uare au Diable ": L'Auteur au Lecteur. 


tdhQS with him a poor UttlQ neighhor-girl , UariQ GuilJettg, who is 
going to a GQrtain farm along tha way, to b9 hirad out for aervioQ, 
ShQ auggosta that thgy take tha loneaomQ little Patit-PiorrQ, 
aQrmain*a a on, with thorn, offering to cars for him at the farm-houae 
until hia fathar might pioh him up on hia rat urn trip. On tha way, 
tha party ia ovartakan by a atorm, and thay find it naoaaaary to 
remain in the foraat all night • Ear oara for Piarre, har oouraga 
and her forgatfulnaaa of aalf, win for har Qarmain'a affection and 
admirat ion, but ha leaves har at tha farm-hous a and goea on to the 
village* Thar a he finds the rich widow "La Leorme du Village" and 
the simple farmer becomes disgusted with her vulgar, condescending 
manner m He escapes from the artificial society of La Leonard, and 
longs for the simple Marie; in calling for har, however, at the 
house whare he left her the day before, he 1 earns that she has gone, 
noone knows where* He traces her and hia little Pierre to the woods, 
and finds tham, dangerously near "La Mare au Diable," the traacharoua 
Devil'a Pool, Marie had run away rather than auimit, and cauae the 
helpleas child to auimit, to cruelties at tha hands of har master. 
The child, like the child in Tennyson's "Princess ," is an unconscious 
bond between Germain and Marie, and subtly guides the action, by re-- 
questing his already wavering father to make Marie his mother, as he 
will never love any other. 

Here we find a peasant society well organized, and 
a law unto itself* Rather than distinctions between tha bourgeois 
and the peasant, there are here distinctions of degree among tha 


peasantry, Germain's family objected to his marriage with JfariOt 
because they felt she was boneath him. But Germain shows a man's 
independence in the affair - a characteristic of which, I believe, 
the ordinary peasants of "Ifaupraf and "Jeanne" would have been 

There is no Caliban - lihe cowardice about the 
nature of these stalwart country people. Their contact with God's 
great out^of doors seems to have taucfl\t them courage, and self- 
reliance, rather thanfear, Marie has the peasant characteristics 
of superstition and fatalism, and yet these are not so dominant in 
her personality that she is passive to external experience. She 
rather , feels herself the maker of her destiny, and, with her little 
charge, rushes out into the night - peopled with what gruesome 
creatures the peasant imagination only knew - rather than risk 
her honor or the well-being of little Pierre, Germain knows the 
passions of the bravest of men as he goes madly to seek his lost 
loved ones. There is a certain note of virility - even of stern- 
ness - about this romance, notwithstanding its general tone of 
delicacy and picturesqueness. 

In February, 1648, "Frangiois le Champi" began to 
appear serially in the "Journal des D&bats," The motif of this 
tale is even simpler than that of "La Uare au Diable," and it is 
particularly at tractive, because it is told by a peasant himself^ 
in simple peasant language. Somewhat like the stories of Ifme, Sand's 


Qorltor poriod, thi3 is the tale of two supremely good and noble 
Qharaoters placed in a setting of dross. There is an undertone of 
sadness throughout t which, unlihe "La Mare au Viable," would seem 
to indicate a hopglessness in the peasant morale* 

Francois is a foundling, who, when about six 
years old, was found out in the fields, by Madeleine Blanchet, the 
young wife of the tyrant Miller, Blanchet. Because of her tyrannioa. 
husband and her equally tyrannical mother-in-law, Madeleine does 
not dare to keep the boy at her home, and so she makes arrange- 
ments with a poor neighbor to keep him. As he grows to manhood, he 
is employed by the drunkard, Blanchet, to work in the mill. The 
miller, to draw the attention away from his own affair with a 
diabolical old s candal -monger , La Severe, accuses his wife of 
undue familiarity with the youth, Franqois, and finally, in a 
fit of rage, he discharges the boy from his service. As Frang^ois 
departs for a distant land, Madeleine, who had been to him like 
a mother, bids him a sorrowful fare well* believing that she will 
never again see the one friend she has ever known. In the course 
of a few years, Franqois has made his fortune - as peas ant -for tunes 
go - and, hearing of the death of his old master, Blanchet, he re- 
turns to help Madeleine, He finds that the miller has squandered 
his money, so that his widow remains, a pauper, He therefore buys 
the old mill and, upon hearing the scandal that La Sev&re has dis- 
tributed over the country about him and Madeleine, he asks her hand 
in marriage. 

ThQro t3 an atmospherQ of poaaimism - ©yen of fatalism - 
about thQ wholQ story. UadQletrxQ oriQa out despairingly to 2q Champi, 
"My child, mis fortune is on you and me, and thQ good God striltQS us 
a hard hlow^"^' 

This passimism is ovident in Frangois* JaoJf of 
opportunity beoausQ of his obscuro birth. In vain does IfadeJeinQ 
try to oonvinoe 2a U&ra BlanohQt that thQ child is not to blamo 
for hia birth, but the old woman, typical of orthodox aooiQty, ahakos 
her hQad and plaoaa him in the category of the ''good-for nothing^** 

Madeleine aeemod to havQ madQ the beat of her meager 
opportunitiea for atudy* She "knew how to read, and had, aa her 
library, two boohs, the Bible and the Livea of the Sainta • Theae 
she had digQStQd so thoroughly that they were a part of hor thinking. 
Once, when she was carrying the child, Frangois, she became very 
tired and was strengthened by the remembrance of what she had read, 

"She felt aa though ahe would fall from weakneas, 
when all of a sudden there came to her mind, a beautiful and mar- 
vellous story which she had read, in the evening, in her old book, 
"La Vie des Saints;" it was the atory of St» Christophe carrying 

the child Jesus across the river, and finding him so heavy, that 


fear stopped him^" 

The body of peasant people, however, that appears in 
"Frangois le Champi" were crude and course. Whether this was to 
set Off the fine and delicate qualitiea of Frangoia and Madeleine, 
or whether it was the temporary conviction of the author's mind, 

1. "FranQois le Champi": p. lOd, 

2, "Francois le Champi" : p. ^6, 


would h9 difficult to distinguish. It ia OQrtain that the meunisr 
BJanohQt, hia mothsr, and La Sev6r9* , are not, in any sQnsQ, idea- 
lizQd. Frangoia was diaguatQd at tho old goaaip, whon hQ ovorhoard 
her tolling BlanohQt'a young siator huge lies about himself and 

"And this child Marietto" ho said to himsolf, "who 

ought to havQ a spirit of innocgncQ and truth, a child who doea not 

yot Itnow Qvil, yot who liatona to thoae worda of tho dovil which 

aho beliQusa aa though aho undgratood thoir oontenta*^' 

In May of tho samo year, 1846, "La Potite Faddtto" 

bsgan to appear in serial form. This boolt Buia pointa out, 


marTta a distinct change in George Sand' a aocial theoriea •" He 

notea that after thia, her out loon ia invariably hopeful and her 

ideaa leaa anarchiat io. It might have been oona idered a novel of 

psychO'-analys ia t for the treatment of the abnormal Sylvtnet dominates 

the story, and it ia, in a way, the primary intereat^ 

Landry and Sylvinet Barbeau, the twins of La Cosse, 

grow up with an unusual love for one another* 7/hm it becomes 

necessary for one of them to go to work on a neighboring farm, and 

the lota caat have decided that Laudry shall go, Sylvinet, the weaker 

personality submits to a passion of grief and Jealousy; he falls into 

a strange fever, and finally runs away. Landry goes to search for 

him, and learns from petite Fadette, a queer creature of the woods, 

his whereabouts ; in return for this knowledge, however, the little 

J. "Frangois le Champi": p. 210. 

2» Buis , "Theories Sod ales de George Sand." 

"sorceress" domanda that he fflvQ htmsQlf to her, to hQ daalt with as 
shQ Qhcoaoa. Her exaction of him ia very niiiVQ; aho requQata that 
hQ danoQ with her at least throe timoa at the church tho noxt holiday 
Landry ia deeply ohagrinod for he haa aslted the lovely Madelon 
Caillaud to be hta partner on that oooaaion. His ahame ia even more 
pronounced when the homely little "Cricket" meeta him at the church 
door and demanda from him the first dance* After the dance, however, 
Landry'a anger ia arouaed by the peaaant^boya rudely making fun of 
the poorly clad little daughter of the wooda, and he gallantly takea 
her part* She seea him in the wooda, later, and, while thanking 
him for hia courage in defending her, ahe aska him why noone lovea 
her* He feala aorry for her, and explaina, reticently, that her 
dreaa ia ahabby, and that, by her odd waya and her connection with 
la mbre Fadette, a fabled sorcereaa , ahe, the child, is aasigned 
uncanny powera, Thia talk marka the beginning of Fadette'a mira- 
culous improvement , and of Landry'a love. The two become faat 
frienda » and Landry'a father, hearing of their moetinga, baniahea hia 
son from home* Fadette goea away, too, to a diatant town, and only 
returna at the end of a year, at the death of her grandmother. The 
money the old Fadette haa left her, ahe coyly takea to the pire 
Barbeau, to be put in hia cuatody* Thia confidence so appeaaea the 
pride of the old man that he aenda for hia a on Landry, and begina to 
talk of the wedding* Thia throwa Sylvinet into another violent 
fever, through which, he ia huraed by the faithful Fadette, The 
result ia that Sylvinet ia our<5d of hia Jealousy of Landry, even 

though ho fall9 in love with Fanohon Fadotts, After tho wadding of 
Landry and Fadotto, SyJvinot leavoa to Join Napoleon's army - a man. 

In ^'Petite Fadette," practically all the peasants 
pictured are simple, true souls; their lives are sincere and 
beautiful. The home life of Les Bar beaux is happy and beaut if ul; 
the sorrow upon Landry's leaving the home seems heart-felt , The 
faithful friendship of Landry for his brother was constant even 
though it was reciprocated only spasmodically, Landry, however, 
must have felt somewhat ashamed of this affect ion, for when Sylvinet 
came to see him at the home of le p&re Caillaud, Landry tried 
desperately to restrain his enthusiasm, 

"Aa soon as Landry saw him enter, his heart Jumped 
for Joy, and, if he had not been able to contain himself, he would 
have pushed over tables and chairs in order to embrace him more 
quicJfly, But he did not dare, because his masters looked at them 
curious ly, amusing themselves in seeing in this friendship a new 
thing and a phenomenon of nature, as the schoolmaster said,"^* 

"Les Ua^tres Sonneurs ," it ae&ms to me, is the most 
beautiful of all the pastorals , although it is sometimes not even 
considered a member of that group. It is a musical fantasy, but 
its characters are peasant people. The entire effect f« that of a 
vague, far-away, but altogether entrancing song* But the situations 
are only those which might confront a simple people; even the 
2, "La Petite Fadette": p. 26, 


languago is diatinotly non-Par is igrmQ. 

ThQ narrator, Tionnet, ia th9 Qouain of a very 
baautiful country girl ,BrulQtt9t who livod with hor grrandfathor. In 
their home aJso livad a young widow and her son, Joseph, a queer , 
moody lad of Bruletto's age but for whom it seemed to be impossible 
to learn. He and Tiennet early became suitors for the hand of 
Brulette, and Joseph, one day, shows his two friends a cornet and 
plays for them weirdly. At the strains of his instrument , a strange 
man in black appears, who seems to have been Joseph's teacher. Once 
Joseph mysteriously disappeared, and Tiennet traced him to a far^ 
distant woods, where he was listening to an old man's strange music. 
Later he goes away and stays for months. At a country dance, a 
strange, handsome, young man appears, plays for a few dances, and 
then dances with Brulette, He tells her Joseph has sent, by him, 
for his cornet, and tells her the lad is living happily in the 
home of le Or and Buoheux, A year later the stranger, Huriel, re- 
turns and begs Brulette to return hone with him, as the only means 
of saving Joseph, who has fallen desperately ill. She goes, with 
her friend Tiennet, who has been rejected as her lover. Huriel 
fails in love with her, but is true to his friend Joseph, One night 
he hilled a man in Tisr defence and then had to banish himself from 
the country. Upon her return home Brulette mysteriously takes a 
child. Chariot, to rear. The scandal which this irregularity causes 
reaches Joseph's ears, and he is enraged. He tells Huriel, upon 
the latter 's safe return to his own land, and Huriel rushes to woo 

her, hlindjy baliQvinsf in her purity. Ths child, Joseph finds, is 
his own mother's, whom Brulette has kept for her sake. After the 
wedding of Brulette and ffurieJ, and of Tiennet and Huriel's sister, 
Therenoe, Joseph wanders off - a melancholy figure, wedded to his true 
love, music. 

The sequence of the action is very faulty, and the 
plot resolves itself into not much more than a series of romantic 
incidents , but the characters are powerfully drawn and the back- 
ground of weird, uncanny music is played upon with the delicacy of 
a master* The untutored child, Brulette, tries in vain to describe 
the atmosphere created by Joseph's playing, but her attempt to explaii 
har feelings is only an exclamation, 

"J did not seem to see the flute, though I heard it 
clearly; but you seemed to me to be back in that childhood age, when 
we lived together* I felt myself carried with you by a strong wind - 
carried up, now over the ripe fields, now over the running waters; 
and I saw the fields, the woods, the plains of flowers, and the 
skies of birds which fly in the clouds 

There are many interesting evidences of the optimism, 
love of nature, purity - of these rustic peoples portrayed, but they 
seem, here, the individualistic, and tend toward differentiation of 
characters , rather than toward the formation of a type* The super- 
stitions of Brulette, her naive aversion to strangers , her inability 
to read, yet her desire to learn, when she found a need for that 
Im "Lea Ua\tres Sonneurs": p» 


Itnowlodgat her rQaotton toward the gossip about Tier and th9 child - 
all seem to go toward malting up a oharaotor who ''had tastos and 
ideas that are not of thQ land whors she had flowQrad." What a 
mixturg of honhommis, primitive roJigion, fatalism, and kind'-hearted- 
noss W9 find in ths o2d wood^outtor •'^ * 

"Do you know," he says, "I Jove them, these old com- 
panions of my life ( the trees J, who have told me so many things in 
the rustle of their leaves and the crackle of their branches i I have 
never seen one fall- either an old oaJs, or a young sapling, without 
trembling with pity or fear, like an assassin of the works of Qod,""^' 

And the most noble, most courageious character in the 
book, - the most manly, I think, of George Sand's peasant men, - 
Huriel, rises above any inborn superstitions , and philosophizes , 
through an intimate knowledge of the ways of nature, 

"The beasts cower in bad weather, the birds are silQnt, 
the foxes howl; my dog himself seeks refuge inthe horse's stall; 
but what distinguishes man from animals, is to keep the heart calm 
and light in the midst of the battles of the air and the caprice 
of the clouds* He alone, who knows how to preserve himself by his 

reason from fear and danger, has the power and the instinct for 


feeling what is beautiful in darkness •" 

The rest of Mmem Sand's long and energetic life was 

spent in her correspondence, and in writing for the stage. As her 

greatest charm lies in the int er dependence of her characters with 

things and forces about them, her dramatic productions are mediocre, 

J. "Les Mai t res Sonneurs" : p, 297, 
2, "Les Uattres Sonneurs" : p, 124 


whon not uns ucqqss/uI, Ear last yaars otq axcQQcLingly happy and 
hopQfuJ, Throughout the war of 2370, aho tried in vain to buoy 
up th9 spirits of hQr melancholy friend, Flaubert, who felt that the 
spirit of France was being crushed. She finally answered him, in 
September, 2872, in a vehement outburst of faith in her countrymen 
in their hour of tria2, and thence to faith in mankind. This 2etter 
was published in "Lq Tempo," October J, 2872, under the tit2e, 
"Reponse d un Ami." I quote this 2etter, in part, because it seems 
to be a vindication of the romantic idea of the brotherhood of man, 
and of George Sand's own treatment of her brother, the peasant. She 
begins , 

"Whati Do you wish that I cease to 2ove? Y'ou desire 
that I say that I have been deceived all my life, that humanity 
is to be despised, hated, that it has a2ways been so, and sha22 
ever be? And you reproach my grief as feeb2enesst as the chi2dish 
regret of a 2os,t i22usion. You affirm that the peop2e have a2ways 
been bruta2, the priesthood hypocrit ica2 , the bourgeois du22, the 
so2dier a brigand, and the peasant a foo2? - Y'ou have never then been 
young? Ahi We differ indeed, for I have never ceased to be so, if 
to be young is to 2ove a2ways , No, Nol One cannot iso2ate himse2f; 
he is bound by the ties of b2ood; he cannot scorn, he cannot despise 
his hind. Humanity is not a vain word. Our 2ife is made of 2ove 
and no more to 2ove$ is no more to 2ive," 


QQorgQ Eliot's Snglish Rustics, 

Although Georgg Eliot had at ong timo drurih deop of 
the sontirnQntalism of RoussQau and of the sounder Romanticism of 
Oeorgg Sand, in her maturity of thought, she held widely differing 
views concerning life. Like George Sand, she definitely attacked 
the prevailing classic standards of the early nineteenth century, 
but she did not attack them from the sentimentalist's view^point . 
Although she called herself an "aesthetic teacher," she did not 
mirror life through the glaze of a "rose-pink sentimental ism," Her 
attitude was rather that of the materialist , to whom all life wa9 
subject to scientific laws, and all human endeavor blind before the 
Sphinx 'like riddle. Under the influence of ifr* Lewes, and, in- 
directly, of M, Auguste Comte, she became a Posit ivist , laboriously 
mapping out the consequences of men's deeds with mathematical pre^ 
cision, Her fatalism was an undeviat ing determinism. Thus she 
must have thought that a certain int ellectual percept ion was a 
necessary prerequisite to right conduct, and that evil was the 
cons equence of ignorance. How different from the views of the 
naturalistic George Sand, who thought goodness was the inherent 
quality of the unsophisticated. She seemed to have adopted, rather, 
Maggie Tulliver's complacent and passive s ubmiss ion to a fate over 
which she had no power, Maggio expresses hQr philosophic views to 
the sympathetic Philip: 

"'Our life is determined for us - and it makes the mind 
very free when we give up wishing, and only think of bearing what is 


laid upon ua $ and doing what is given us to dOm" 

QeorgQ Eliot, or rather, Mary Ann Evana, was herself 
the prototype of Maggie TuIIiver. She was the same passionate 
creature of her $ urroundings , with the same stormy demand for Jove 
and sympathy. She was born November 22, 2829, at South Farm, Arbury, 
in Warwickshire; its scenery was prosaic and commonp2ace, but it 
was Mary Ann's 2oved home for twenty-one years. In 2020, the fami2y 
moved to Griff House, on Mr, Frances Newdigat e's estate, near 
Nuneaton, Here, for five years, she was the constant companion and 
ardent admirer of her brother, Isaac; it was this first 2ove ex- 
perience that has been commer orated in the "Brother and Sister** 
sonnets and in "The Mi22 on the FJoss,** One of these records 
ant icipates the author's reduction of a22 human action and oir- 
sumstances to a formu2a, Isaac 2 eft Mary Ann in charge of his fish- 
ing-2ine, te22ing her to snatch it in if a barge shou2d approach. 
She became 2ost in dreams and 2et a barge draw near unnot iced, Isaac 
was furious2y angry, but, upon finding that her neg2ect had acoi- 
dent2y caught a si2ver trout, he smothered her with kisses and 
praised her s uperf2uous2y. She wondered about her brother's con- 
sistency, and formed a vague notion of a governing destiny: 

"'The 2itt2e 2ass had 2uck,' the gardener said. 
And so I 2earned 2uck was with g2ory wed," 

When five years o2d, she was sent, with her sister, to 
a schoo2 at At t2eborough. Three years 2ater she attended a 2arge 
2, The Mi22 on the F2os3: Book V, Chap, 2, 


school at NunQatorxt and, four yoara later, an acadomy at Coventry, 
kept by the Utsaes Franklin, daughters of a Baptist minister. Her 
religious experience under this Calvinistio influence was violent 
and profound, in keeping with her passionate and emotional nature* 
It recalls certain flashes of George Sand's life in the English 
school in Paris; the French girl's fervor, however, was aroused by 
Catholic Mysticism while that of the English girl was stirred by the 
imaginary possibilit ies of a Protestant conversion. During her long 
vacation periods, her father became h^r second loved companion* He 
would take her on his rides with him, and thus she came to know the 
surrounding country and especially the villagers , She listened 
with keen interest to their gossip, and stored away in her mind seeds 
that were later to spring forth in tales like The Sad Fortunes of 
the Reverend Amos Barton, or Adam Bede* Robert Evans, Mary Ann's 
father, was a carpenter , the original of Adam Bede, His s incer ity 
made a deep impression on his daughter; Mary H, Deakin quotes her 
thus concerning him: 

^'His sterling honesty, perfect sincerity , and loyalty, 
his simple belief in good work, done thoroughly and with a man's 
heart in it as the best part of religion, his scorn of bad slovenly 
work and the workingman who took no pleasure in doing a thing well - 
these were the most not iceable of his good qualities**"'^' 


"It must be remembered," says Mr, Charles Gardner, 
that Robert Evans and all Mary Ann's kith and kin spoke with a broad 

1, Deakin, Mary H,, The Early Life of George Eliot, 

2, Gardner, Charles, The Inner Life of George Eliot, 


aoQont 2iJ^9 Adam Bodo^" Tha second Ura* Evans, hor mothgr, had a 
rich pgraonalitym From har Qeorgs Eliot racaivad har faculty of 
humour, har lova of ordarlinass and har practical mind; this oommon- 
sansa mothar was racraatad in Mrs* Poysar, Upon tha daath of har 
mother, Uary Ann, cama home to heap house for har father, and, in 
1841, tha two moved to Coventry, Hera sha met the Brays and their 
kinsfolk, the Hennells - personalities whose influence was epoch- 
making in her mental davalopmant , Tha Hannals were creadless 
Unitarians , while Mr, and Mrs m Charles Bray had cast aside all 
religious entanglements and were plain scept ics . It was perhaps 
due to tha absorption of their ideas that she entered whole-hearted- 
ly into the movement for the development of free religious thought, 
and spent two years finishing a work begun by Miss Brabant, - the 
translation of Strauss' "Leben Jesu," This type of religious 
crit ioism was too negative and destructive for her, and by the time 
that the "Life of Jesus" was published, she had become "Strauss 

After her father's death, in 184$, she mado a brief 
tour into Switzerland with the Brays, Upon her return to England, 
she devoted much of her time to reading the sentimentalists - 
Richardson, Rous sea UfQeorge Sand and Qoethe^ Her former rational- 
istic attitude toward religion was naturally merging, under these 
stimuli, into Pantheism, In 16^1, she became assistant editor of 
the V^estminster Review, and in this position she came to know most 
of the intellect ual men of her time, especially the radical thinkers 
Of the materialistic school of thought. She formed a Ufa-long 


friQndahtp with tho philosopher, Hgrbart SpenoQr, and through him shQ 
Qcmo to know tho dashing QsorgQ Henry Lewea . In 18^4, she resided 
her position on the staff of the Westminster Review and left England, 
with Lewes, for Weimar, They lived together, in Berlin, V/eimar^ 
London, and Richmond, for twenty-four years, or until his death. 
There was apparently a perfect Platonism in their relat ions ; they 
felt that they discharged all moral obligations in their provis ion 
for Urs. Lewes and her three sons. This period in George Eliot's 
life, however, seems a pitiful contradict ion to her literary os- 
sumption of reverence for Law as a sacred institution; it would 
seem that she had caught sight of the vision but had fallen short 
of act^^ing it. Be that as it may, critics agree that, without this 
union with Lewes, George Eliot would not have been known to the 
literary world. 

In 18^7, he sent in her manuscripts of the Scenes 
of Clerical Life to Blackwood's ; they were written, he said, by 
an anonymous friend of his, and contemporary critics supposed this 
friend to be none other than a diss ent ing clergyman. Everyone in 
Ohilvers -Cot on and in Nuneaton knew the stories of Amos Barton and 
of Janet Dempster, and, although George Eliot did not know any of the 
characters of Ur, Gilfil's Love Story personally, she had heard a 
vague account of his tragic experience. Although the stories are 
quiet, unassuming, and not in the least a tart 1 ing, they won instant 
praise from Froude, Dickens and Mrs, Carlyle, The story of "The 
Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton" centers about the unjust 
gossip directed against the poor parson because his family has kind- 


ly bQfriQudQd the SQlfish and unpr inoiplad Countess CzarJaski, Thorg 
is one pgr/QOt character. Hilly Barton, who stands as personified 
Virtue, on whom rests the verdict of an unmoral fate. She is, how- 
ever, human, lavable, and somewhat awe-inspiring. The story is 
little more than a picture of village life, with a distinct moral 
setting forth the evil consequences of village gossip. Even though 
her first effort in the field of literature, it gives evidence of 
the best of George Eliot's humour and the most tearful of her pathos. 
It is unique in that, although George Eliot se&ms to hear, sympa- 
thetically, "the howl of the wolf approaching" the door of the Bar- 
tons, she does not make of them sentimental abstractions; the 
uninteresting vicar's "very faults were middling." The study, too, 
is not of a single character , or of any inner conflict, but rather 
of a whole community, and of the way in which each member of that 
community is inseparably bound to every other member. The unknow- 
ing and s el f -centered Countess had her unconscious effect on the life 
of the community to which she had wandered; this thrill of response 
to her presence went tlirough the whole village and thence back to 
the vicar's family, and left its unknowing blight there. There is 
an evidence, here, of realism treated in a new way: not with the 
irony and brutal energy of Flaubert or Zola, and yet not with the 
humanist ic satire of Fielding, Smollett or Thackeray. It is merely 
an expression of the author's theory of art, that its supremacy 
lies in trut hfuln ess . 

Mr. Gilfil's Love Story is more a creative work, but 
it deals much less with the lives of the common country people. It 



is an artful and inter aating story of a young rector who loved 
Caterina, the Italian ward of Lord Cheveral. The girl, however, 
loves the dashing, handsome Captain V/ybrow, and is broken-heart ed 
when he becomes engaged to another* In her passion, she decides 
to hill him, but is hindered from murder only by finding him dead* 
After a long sickness, she repents and marries her faithful friend 
and lover, Uaynard Q-ilfil, The consequence of her unfortunate 
experiences on her passionate nature, however, is her death soon 
after her marriage* It is an early elaboration of the theme of 
Maggie Stephen, and Philip in The Hill on the Floss, and is curious- 
ly analogous, in part, to the author's own experience, except that 
she countenanced her own actions while poor little Tina and the 
guiltless Uaynard had to suffer when a moral low was broken* Janet *s 
Repentance was the least s uccessful of the three stories* The theme 
is that of a woman reclaimed from drink and selfishness by a 
faithful, evangel ical clergyman, Mr* Tryan, Thg conversion is due, 
according to the author, to the influence of this man's personality, 
and it is ethical in that Janet is converted to a sense of duty to, 
and service for, her fellow-men, More than in the other two stories, 
the character iz at ion is the predominating feature* The motive is in 
contrast to almost all others of George Eliot's, in that sin, here, 
is the outcome of the defeat of the good forces within man; external 
condit ions and minor characters seem here but the inevitable ac- 
companiment of the inner struggle. Man seems the master, if not of 
his own destiny, at least of his temporary happiness ; the only 
formula necessary is a deeply inbred sense of the Golden Rule* 


Miss E^vans sprang^ into famo in 18^9, with tho publi- 
cation of Adam BodQ, It mas a story of her own past QxpQr iencQ, 
and sfTQW out 0/ a story told hor lonj bQforg by hor Mothodist aunt, 
Mrs* SamuQl Evans, Hgr oharaot ers wgrQ all gathgrsd togsthar out 
of her intimatg momory, 9X09pt ffgtty SorroJ, who is a Jiving creation 
G^orgQ Eliot has davgJopQd thQ geria of th9 story told hsr until it 
has bQOOmQ an gmbodirnQnt of hsr Qthioal theory. The moral is quite 
evident: Tragedy arises from the sure consequences of our ineradi- 
cable evil deeds i This law is stated later, in Romola: 

"Our deeds are like our children that are born to us; 
they live and act apart from our own will. Nay childrgn may be 
strangled, but deeds never: they have an indestructible life both 
in and out of our own consciousness 

George Eliot, then, is evidently different from other 
realists and materialists , in that she had a carefully worked out 
social philosophy. There is an ethical mot ivat ion behind everything 
that she wrote; somewhere under the humour or the pathos, we can 
always feel her stern call to duty, Adam Bede, the tall, big- 
soul ^d epitome of George Eliot's idea of human goodness, is in- 
troduQQd to us, singing, 

"'Awake, my soul , and with the sun 
"'Thy daily stage of duty run; 

"'Shake off dull sloth 

"'Let all they converse be sincere, 
"'Thy conscience as the noonday clear,'" ^' 
Adam is not, like his brother Seth, a "religious man," 
1. Adam Bede, Chap, 1, 


y9t he iDork s all night to finish his drunksn fathgr's Sob, Tho ono 
thing that mahss him angry is for man not to do what thQir fellows 
hav3 a right to axpQot of thQm; this appliss as wgll to the carpQn- 
t9rs who quit on thQ first strohs of thQ hour, as to Arthur Donnit- 
horn who fails in rQStrain in a crisis on which thQ wholo ooursQ of 

thQ tragody dQpQnds, That Arthur was a "gentleman" with truly noble 
ideals, made him all the more guilty in Adam's eyes; "noblesse 
oblige*" Adam loves Hetty, the unsophist icat ed milh-maid whom 
Arthur, the grandson and heir of Squire Donnithorn has clandestinely 
won, Arthur, after a fight with his old friend Adam, leaves home, 
and Adam, in course of time, becomes engaged to the lovely Hetty, 
She finds ahe cannot marry him, however, and goes in vain to seek 
Arthur, Arthur, however, has gone to Ireland, and Hetty, in mad 
despair, murders her child. The death sentence is waived at the 

plea of the belated Arthur, but her soul is crushed. Like Janet 
Dempster, she is brought to confess ion and repentance by contact 
with a perfect soul-Dinah, the unordained Methodist preacher, whom 
Adam in the end, marries. This book is the culmination of years of 
painstaking observations of country people. These people are not 
alikG, nor are any of them glaring abstractions , None are wholly 
bad, and none wholly good except Dinah Morris, The pract ical , 
clever Mrs, Poyser is placed beside a good-humoured nonenity of a 
husband; the big, strong shoulders of Adam bear most of the burdens 
of his slow, weaker brother Seth, and of his unpoised mother 
'Lizbeth; Dinah at least shares the shams and the agony of the im- 
prisoned Hetty, Certainly George Eliot had no social theories of 


thQ inr2uQnQ9 of heredity and environment , when she allowed this 
motley group to tie the offspring of a like nurture and origini 

Adam's religion is noteworthy as it seems to be the 
expr ess ion of the author's as well. He saw God in all things that 
point toiDard good, and religion in the faithful performance of duty. 

"'There's a sperrit o' G-od,'" he says., in all 

things and all timas - week-day/ as well as Sunday - and i' the 

great works and invent ions , and i' the figuring and the mechanics » 

And God helps us with our head-pieces and our hands as well as with 

our souls; and if a man does t>its o* Jobs out o' working hours - 

builds a oven for 's wife to save h^r from going to the bakeho use, 

or scrats at his bit o' garden and makes two potatoes grow instead 

of one, he's doing morg good, and hg's Just as near God, as if he 


was running after some preacher and a-praying and a-groaning, *" 

This is essent ially a manual religion, a religion for 
the man who works. It is measured entirely by what it produces , and 
in a sense might be called thi religion of Pragmatism, Thus Seth 
becomes a bigger man after his sorrow in losing Dinah; his soul 
grows, in the darkness , from an individual calamity to a desire for 
the social good. His religion thereafter is for others , rather than 
for himself. Religion is, to George Elict, the antidote for evil, 
or the unes capable result of bad deeds; it is the practice of good 
deedsm It is an external thing, not dwelling in the mystic soul of 
man, Man, himself, thus reduced to what he does , is no more 
1, Adam Bede, Chap, 1, 



liaf/linj to thQ sciQntifiQ mind than a highly organizQd plant; hQ 

can bQ diasQQtod and studiQd in his Just rglation to his s urroundings 

Shg did not r 3QognizQ thQ "two lams, disorata, unrQQoncilQd^"'^' in 

a calQulatingf, unromant ia way, she failed to rgalizQ that, "Man must 

2 , 

begin, Jtnow this, where Nature endst" ' for to her he was quite as 
solvable a mystery as plants and other creatures of the soil. She 
felt it her mission to saeh out the meaning of Ufa, and to work out 
a solution for the sake of her fellow-men. 

In I860 appeared the second graat novel. The Mill on thG 
Floss, It is a revelation of the author's own youth, and is, even 
more than Adam Bede, a sociological study of life, Maggie Tulliver 
is perhaps George Elliot's most sympathet ically drawn char act er , as 
she is, in the main, the author herself; but, with all her weeping 
and fervor, Maggie is mechanically sketched. Her motives are 
analysed in so much as they produce certain results, and her worth 
as a human soul is estimated in relation to the effect of her ac- 
tions on sociQty. It is only what she do^es , that counts; Maggie's 
tempestuous mind could find no rest like Rabbi Ben Ezra's when he 

"*V/hat I aspired to be, and was not, comforts me,*"^ 
One of the determining forces of Maggie's conduct is 
her books. Their influence on her makes of The Mill on the Floss 

1, Jherson, Ode Inscribed to V/, H, Channing, 

2, Arnold, To an Independent Preacher, 
J. Browning, Rabbi Ben Esra, 


an "IntQllQctual NovqI" or one in which thQ plot is dirQCtgd by 
books, movQments or institutions, 

ThQ story gathors around UaggiQ and her lovos for Tom 
and for hsr two Jovars, Philip and StQphon, ThQ childhood brothor 
and sistQr soQnQs arQ purely autobiographical , but it is uncart ain 
to what an QxtQnt ths othar affair had to do with thQ author's lifQ, 
MaggiQ rosistad hor supramQ tamptat ion; Q-QorgQ Eliot, undgr likQ 
condit ions , disregarded moral laws and says shQ had no tempt at ion. 
It would seem that she did not apply the same rule of deeds to her- 
self that she applied to humanity in general. In view of her 

own life, the unswerving nemesis in which she steeps her work, would 


seam somewhat ins incere. Sir Leslie Stephen makes the sweeping 
statement that "the whole theme of the book is surely the contrast 
between the ' beaut if ul soul'' and the commonplace s ur round ings ," and 
sees in Maggie's death in the Floss the inevit able outcome of the 
given char act er and the circumstances in which she was placed, Maggie 
rightfully belongs to the sentimentalist school of Richardson, and 
yet is subjected to the Yoke of the dogma of the materialists , 

There was to be one more story embodying the mat trials 
of her early remembrance. In February, 1861, Blackwood, although he 
thought the motif "rather sombre" accepted Silas Marner for public 
cation. It is short, for a novel, but is the most perfect of all 
her works from the point of view of balance and art. Here the child 
Eppie occupies the position of preacher, to point out the ever- 
present moral, ThQ theme is, again, duty, Silas' happiness came 

1, Stephen, Sir Leslie, George Eliot; in English. Men of Letter 
s er ies , 

heoausQ Tiq gladly accQptod thQ duty that lay noS^ost him, GcdfrQy 
Cass* ronunoiation, liko Magjio's camg too lata; his bQlated re- 
turn to duty did nothing moPQ than QasQ his own burdangd oonscignoe, 

PQrhaps hor most delightful peasant char act Qrs appQor 
in this book, Thoir h'QQn interest in the doings of their superiors 
is manifested in the conversations at the Raindrop, Mr, Maoey had 
always feared that the marriage of Mr, Lammet er and Miss Osgood 
would not turn out right because "the words were said contrairy," 
He had disclosed this secret to the parson, and that worthy gentle- 
man had set him temporarily at ease by saying, 

"*It*s neither the meaning nor the words - it's the 
regester that does it - that's the glue,'" 

Dolly V/inthrop's honest son retains a hazy, single- 
tax philos oph in his simple brain, 

" 'There's never a garden in all the parish but what 
there's endless waste in it for want o' somebody as could use 

everything up. It's what I thinJa to myself sometimes , as there need 
nobody run short o' victuals if the land was made the most on, and 
there was never a morsel but what could find its way to a mouth. 
It sets one thinking o* that - gardening does,*" 

In its vivid pictures of ill it erate rustic 
charaat ers , Leslie Stephen woUld place Silas Marner only after 
Far from the Madding Crosd and others of Thomas Hardy* s early worhs . 
He finds the nearest parallel to Silas Marner in George Sand's • 
stories of rustic life, but would discountenance the ass umpt ion 
1, Silas Marner, Chap, XVI, 



that G-QorgQ EHot took any of hgr artistic ideas from hQr Frgnoh 
pradooas 3 or , 

"But though the affinity botWQgn tho two great 
femininQ novelists is s uffioient to explain G-eorge Eliot's appre- 
ciation of her rival's sentiment and passion, it does not seem 
to have suggested any appropriation of artistic methods* One 
palpable deference is that while Cfeorge Sand poured forth novels 
wtth amazing spontaneity and felicity , each of George Eliot's 
novels was the product of a kind of spiritual agony 

After the publication of Silas Marner, her novels 
became more complex in their characters and scenes, and more deeply 
engrossed in psychology, as she leaves the rustic places and people 
she knew best how to delineate* In 1860, after the publ icat ion of 
The Mill on the Floss, the Lewes es had spont three months in Italy, 
and while in Florence, George Eliot had written Blackwood that she 
had conceived a "great project ," She did not carry it out, however, 
until in 1861, after the publication of Silas Marner, she returned 
to Florence* Her project was Romola, an historical novel of 
Florence in 1669, The tragedy lies in the degradation of Tito's 
character, and this is the consequence of his failure to do his 
duty to his father , Baldassare, a prisoner in Turkey* The story 
Jac/fS the human interest of Adam Bede or The Mill on the Floss, in 
that it is removed from that order of things with which the author 
could fully sympathize* There is one character that seems out of 
her proper environment ; the simple peasant girl Tessa, seems rather 
1. Stephen, Leslie, George Eliot: Chap. Vll* 

to hslong to thQ H^nglish mid-lands in tho ninatQanth oentary than to 
Savonarola's timQ and city, 

Q-Qorg^ Eliot wander 9d further from the path in which 
her truQ genius Jay, when, in 2666, she wrote Felix Holt, the 
Radical, It is a study of political intrigue and of labor problems 
in England, The action takes place in some mythical midland county 
of England in 18^2, The characters , however, are not rustics, but 
sophist icated persons, dominated by compl ioat ed intellectual motives. 

In 1872 appeared Middlemarch, a story laid in a 
manufacturing town, and, in 1876, Daniel Deronda, This booh is pro- 
paganda for the reestablishment of a Hebrew nation in Palest ine. It 
was received with "much repugnance, or else indifference"^ by re- 
viewers, and most critics accept what Mr» Oscar Browning disclaims 

with bitter irony, that "Thought and learning have usurped the 


place of art» 

Lewes died on the 26th Qf November, 1678, and George 
Eliot's product ivety had already ceased. She published one volume 
of essays called the Impressions of Theophras t us , Such, later. Its 
matter is ponderous and pedantic; there is no trace of the delicacy 
and sympathetic observations that had once created a Mrs, Poyser, 
George Eliot seemed in the throes of a bitter despair, a despair 
which she at tempted to drown two years later, by marrying an old 
friend, Mr, John Walter Cross, They had a brief honeymoon tour in 
Europe, but the wife died December 22, 1660 ^ seven months after her 

1, George Eliot's Journal, December 1, 1676, 

2, Browning, Oscar, The Life of George Eliot; p, 14^, 



OQorgQ Eliot was fundamQntally a toaohori she fait it 

to hQ har mission "to give a faithful account of men and things 


as thQy havQ mirrorsd thomselvQS in my mind*" Hor method is 

"to tdll my simple story, without trying to make things seem 

better than they were; dreading nothing indeed, but falsity," Her 

characters are mediocre, and purposely so she tells of sorrows 

that walk" neither in rags, nor in velvet, but in very ordinary 

decent apparel *" But she is conscious that she chooses her men and 

women from the maJ'ority: 

"At least eighty out of a hundred of your adult male 

fellow-Britons returned in the last census are neither extra~ 

ordinarily silly, nor extraordinarily wicked, nor extraordinarily 

wise: ••• They are simply men of complexions more or less muddy, 

whosQ conversat ion is more or less bald and disjointed. Yet these 

commonplace people-many of t hem-bear a conscience, and have felt 


the sublime prompting to do the painful right," 

So her settings, like the town of Hilby, are "nothing 
but dreary prose," She writes of the 'peasant, as the most mediocre 
creatures of her knowledge - neither good nor bad; he is only the 
admirable victim of her theory. 

Although at times, as in the case of Adam Bede, Dinah, 
or Aaron V/inthrop, she seems to have been carried by her enthus iasm 
over into the realms of Romant icism, she sets herself definit ely 
against any movement that would tend to idealize the peasant or 

1, Adam Bede, Chap. XVII, 

2. The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton, Chap, V, 


glorify tho simpjQ lifQ and advocatQ ths rgturn of oivilazat ion to 
the QxoQllonciQS of ignoranoQ, ShQ found this tandenoy in German 
litaraturg, and, in an Q3say on the Natural History of German Life, 
she says, *^The painter is stiJJ under the influsnoe of idyllio 
literat ure, which has always expressed the imagination of the 
cult ivat ed and town-bred, rather than the tru^th of rustic life. 
Idyllic ploughmen are Jocund when they drive their team afield; 
idyllic villagers dance in the checkered shade, and refresh them- 
selves, not immoderately, with spicy nut -broun ale. But noone who 
has seen much of actual ploughmen thinks them Jocund; noone who is 
well acquainted with the English peasantry can pronounce them merry. 
The slow gaze, in which no sense of beauty beams, no humor twinkles , 
the slow utterance and the heavy, s louching walk, remind one of 
that melancholy animal the camel, than of the sturdy countrymen, with 
striped stockings, red wais tcoat , and hat aside, who represents the 
traditional English peasant ' 

She attempts in her novels to correct "the still 
lingering mistake that an unintelligible dialect is a guarantee for 
ingenuousness, and that slouching shoulders indicate an upright 
dispos it ion," She expresses all her pent-up intellectual disgust 
at Rousseauism, when she avers, "To make men moral, something more 
is necess ary than to turn them out to grass*" 

Yet, because of her abhorrence of the prevalent 
romantic deification of the countryman, she does not deem him un- 
important to society and thus a subject unworthy of literary treat- 
1, Essays: The .Natural History of German Life, 


mQnt, "To spaak paradox ioally shQ says, "the QxistonoQ of in- 

signifioarxt pQoplQ, has vQry important oonsQquQnoQS in ttiQ world. 

It can bQ shown to affQot thQ pricg of broad and thg rata of wag^QS , 

to call forth many Qvil tompors from tho SQlfish, and many hQroisms 

from thQ sympathQtic, and, in othor ways, to play no small part in 


thQ tragQdy of lifQ^" It is this part in human tragQdy played 
by thQ ignorant novioQ on thQ litarary staga, that George miiot 
studies with thQ Hean inter Qst of a QleuQr stago manager, ShQ Itnows 
their foibles and thQir medknessas ; but she seeks not to better 
their condition or to instruct the peasants » but rather, to draw 
picture lessons from them for the edification of an enlightensd 
audiQnoQ, Her sympathy for him seems, in comparison with the com- 
passionate George Sand, but in the abstract ; he is to her a de- 
lightful object of humour or a very pict ur esque vehicle for the 
express ion of her homely ideas* 

There is nothing diatinotiue in George Eliot* ^ psa- 
sants; they are not a definite product of the soil from which they 
s.pring, as are Thomas Hardy's characters , but thay would seem to fit 
in anywhera - On one occasion Miss Gibbs has made an assart ion as 
to what she would do in Mrs, Barton's pos it ion^ 

"'Yes, it's fina talking; said Mrs, Patten, from her 
pillow; 'old maids' husbands are al'ys well-managed* If you was a 
wife you'd be as foolish as your betters, belike,*" ' 

1, Adam Bade, Chap, V. 

2, The Sad Fortunes of the Raverend Amos Barton: Chap.Vl, 


Such a rgmark is typical of any unsophis t ioat sd 
villagQ 3oai9ty, whilQ thQ ingsnioas rgmarh of Prisoilla LammQter 
to the MissQs Bond ^ "*I don't mind bQtn.7 ugjy, do you?*" is quito 
as univQrs al in its familiar appeal - In short, thQ peasant in 
George Sliot's novels, is not a localized creature; he does not 
heighten the local colour. V/ith the single exception of Silaa 
Marner, who is spiritually as Eppie was phys ically, bound to his 
loom, her rustics do not vary materially from country folk of any 
part of England or America, 

George Eliot was keenly alive to the thought of her 
times, and took occasion, through the action and philosophy of her 
very simple characters, to bring forth her own complex ideas. One 
of the pet topics of the century was eduoat ion, and our author 
had somewhat vigour ous views on the subject. Like the queer old 
3artle Ua2sey*s, and like his pupil Adam's, they tend toward the 
product ion of efficient results, LikQ her religion, she would have 
her educat ion tested by the acid test, "Does it work?" It is the 
philosophy of Pragmatism, applied in a very pr act ical way. It would 
lead inevitably to some sort of a plea for vocational educat ion, and 
this is what George Eliot is striving for when, in Adam Bede and 
The mil on the Floss, she preaches so constantly, the gospel of 
IVorh, Tom Tulliver was a poor man's son, left penniless , and with 
only a useless classical educat ion on his hands. The bus iness^like 
Mr, Deane thought that, in the event of another war, "'it would be 
well to put a tax on Latin, as a luxury much run upon by the upper 


olassQS, and not tQlling at all on tha ship-owning dBpartmant » *" 
Tom saw tha futility of trying to makQ use of tha laarning ha had 
gained whila in tutalaga; ha want ad "*a manly business, whara 
I should have to loon after things, and get oradit for what I did,*" 
Tom was never good at Horace, but there is a possibility that a 
business coursa might have proved of true worth to him* His logic 
was claar but his perception was dull on soma points, and his senses 
needed sharpening - However, "Tom was clear upon two points - that 
his Uncle Moss' note should be destroyed and that Luke's money 
must be paid, if in no other way, out of his own and Maggie's money 
now in the savings bank. 

There were subjects , you perceive, on which Tom was 
much quicker than on the niceties of class ical cons truct ion, or the 
relation of a mathematical demonstration." 

George Eliot's religion, as mirrored through her 
peasants, is often tinged with a soul weary Fatalism, Dinah spurns 
Seth Bede somewhat heart lessly with the injunction, 

" * It isn't for you and me to lay plans / we've noth- 
ing to do but to obey and to trust. Farewell,'"^* 

Later, in mantal agony, Adam comforts himself with 
the thought^ "'I am not tha only man that's got to do without 

much happiness i' this life* There's many a good bit o' work done 

2 . 

with a sad heart. It's God's will, and that's enough for us.'" 

1. Adam Bade: Chap. 111. 

2. Adam Bade: Chap. IV. 


ThQ roaJ worth of the peasant's rgJigrion, howQVQr, is 
in works rather than in dogma, Adam BedQ and Dinah aro measured, 
not by what they are, but by what they do, Adam's vision is that of 
a work well and s incerely done; he would heartily endorse the views 
of Chad Cranage, the blacksmith, 

"'Folks man ha' hoss -shoes praiohin' or no praiohin' ; 
the devil oanna lay hould o' me for that,'"^* 

Thus the unconventional peasant religion, at its 
best, seems to have resolved itself into a passion for doing one's 
duty. It is the glorification of authority , and humble s ubmiss ion 
to the needs of an organized society, Adam Bede is the epitome of 
this stern, wholesome, praot ioal type of religious fervor. Duty 
is with him a mania; it is to him what honour was to the knight of 
chivalry. It is the highest of all relative values in life, 

Subordinat e to and as a part of her idea of duty, 

Qeorge Eliot held that characteristically Hardian theory that 

should be faithful to the class and people from which he sprang, or 

at least to those people for whom he can accomplish the most, Eppie 

is made to glory in her material self-sacrifice, as she thanks Mr, 

and Mrs, Cass for their kind proposition: 

"'Thank you, ma'am - thank you, sir. But I can't leave 

my father, nor own anybody nearer than him. And I don't want to be 

a lady-thank you all the same, I couldn't give up the folks I've 

been used to,'" 

1, Adam Bede, Chap, 11, 

2. Silas Marner: Chap, 111. 


ThQ somowhat too idoal Mr, Tryan r9/usQS to "'dig at 


NiC3, ins 1 3ad 0/ dyincf among one's frionds, and one's worh,*" Dinah 
oounsQJs SQth "'to wait pat igntly, and not lightly to JgavQ your own 
country and kindrod* '" ' G-QorgQ Eliot would show us thg wrong of 
going out of ons's bsatgn path by giving us Qxamplas with dirQ 
cons9quQnc9S resulting. She would show us that to "look oGfore and 
after, and sigh for what is not," is saorHQge, bQcausQ it prQsumQS 
to dQfy what the Infinita has ordainod. The most striking in- 
a.tancQS sh9 oitQS are the sad, even bitter, onas of Hetty Sorrell 
and Maggie Tulliver. 

Mr. Charles Gardner quotes George Eliot as saying, 
toward the end of her life, "A human life, I think, should be well 
rooted in some spot of a native land, wh^re it may get the love of 
tender kinship for the face of the earth, for th^ labours men go 
forth to, for the sounds and accents that haunt it, for whatever 
will give that early home a familiar unmistakable difference amidst 
the future widening of knowledge: a spot where the definit eness of 
early memories may be inwrought with affection, and kindly acquain- 
tances with all neighbours even to the dogs and donkeys, may spraad 
hot by sentimental effort and reflect ion, but is a sweet habit of 
the blood, '" 

This tender love of home, arising unconsciously from 
a sense of duty to that home, is one of the finest and most repre- 
sentative traits of George Eliot's peasants. With the Tullivers , 
it has become an abnormal passion - almost madness. Adam Bede felt 

1. Janet's Repent anoe: Chap. XXIV. 

2. Adam Bede: Chap, 111. 

it t and had the old house Qnlargad, rather than iQavQ it and his 
mothQr, It is the OQntral passion around which the story of The 
Sad FortunQs of thQ Rovarond Amos Barton WQavQS itsalf. Bat EppiQ 
gives thQ simplest and purest expression of it. It was on her 
wedding day, when, after disdaining the birthright which Nancy Cass 
thought Las a "too long withheld hut unquestionable good," she was 
ret urning with Aaron and Silas to the weaver's humble cottage, that 
she cried, "'Oh, Father, what a pretty home ours isl I think nobody 
could be happier than we are,'"^' 

Vie see only in such naive outbursts as this glimpses 
of a people concerning whom George Elliot somewhat inaccurately says, 

"I am telling the history of a very simple people, 
who had never had any illuminating doubts as to personal integrity 
and honor," 

Such statements , however, seem to be reminiscenses of 

a youthful Romantic imagination, which she constantly endeavoured to 

stifle, "My imaginat ion, "She wrote Miss Lewis in 1840, "is the enemy 

that must be cast down ere I can enJoy peace or exhibit uniformity 

of character »" For thero was a period in her life where she con- 
sidered Richardson perfect, when Rousseau was her ideal* At one time 
she thanked Miss Sara Hennell for "putting her on reading Sir Charles 
Q-randis on," "I have had more pleasure from him," she said, "than 
from all the Suedish novels put together. The morality is perfect - 

J. Silas Uarner: Chap, XIX, 

2, The Mill on the Floss: Book IV, Chap, 11, 

J. Cross, J, V/,; Life of George Eliot, 



tharQ is nothing for tha nojj lights to QorrQot," Hor maturQ 

Judgmont, howevsr, Jingd hor up with a diff-Qront school of 

philosophy, ShQ giVQS QvidoncQ of har compIotQ gmergencQ from 

Romant icism in hsr Qssaijt "V/or IdJ insss and OthQr-Wor IdlinQss 

"This JudgrriQnt "(that thQ religious and moral spirit 

of Edward Young's poQtry is low and false)" is gntiroly opposed to 

our youthful predilQct ions and enthusiasm. The sweet garden breath 

of early enjoyment lingers about many a page of the 'Night Thoughts,* 

and even of the 'Last Day,' giving an extrins ic charm to passages 

of stilted rhetoric and false sentiment; but the sober and repeated 

reading of maturer years has convinced us that it would hardly be 

possible to find a more typical instance than Young's poetry, of the 

mistake which subst it utes interested obedience for sympathet io 

2 , 

emotion, and baptizes egoism with religion," 

She even denounces George Sand's ethics as unsound 
and essent ial ly untrue. 

"The teaching you quote as George Sand's," she wrote 
Ifrs* Ponsonby in 1874," would I think, deserve to be called nonsen- 
sical if it did not deserve to be called wicked, What sort of 
'culture of the intellect * is that which, instead of widening the 
mind to a fuller and fuller response to all the elements of our 
exis.-tence, isolated it in a moral s t upidity^" 

However, because George Eliot discarded all Romantic 
tendencies which might lead toward a deification of man, she did not 

1, Letter of Oct. JJ, 1647, published in Cross' Life, 

2. Essays, IVorldl iness and Other -V/ or Idliness , 

^. Cross, Life of George Eliot: Vol, 111, p. 17Q, 


fail to rQcognizQ a duty shQ owad to hor fQllow~mQn, She lovod thQm 
as individuals whilQ thg Romanticist would Iovq them in tfiQ abstract 
A man's duty, thQn, must bo social; his worth as a man and as a work- 
man, must bQ measurod by what hg doQS for tha paoplo near him. In an 
impQtuous iQttQr of approciat ion to Mr* Edward Burno— Jonas , shQ ds- 
finod what she t armed the purpose of art; 

"It would 03 narrowness to suppose that an artist can 
only care for the impr es s ions of thosj who know the methods of his 
art as well as fe^l its effects • Art works for all whom it can 
touch. And I want in latitude to tell you that your work makes life 
larger and more beaut if ul to me," 

She measured her own artistic mission by Just such loft i 
standards ; she wrote to R, Button in 186^, "But with regard to 
that and to my whole book, my predominent feeling is - not that I 
have achieved anything, but that great, great facts have struggled 
to find a voice through me, and have only been able to speak 

It is through this service, or instruction, that she 
comes in contact with those common men with whom she has a "deep, 
human sympathy," Art, to her, is not only a true mirror of life as 
she ae :s it, but also a means of knowing men," Art is the nearest 
to life," she says; "it is a mode of amplifying experience and ex- 
tending our contact with our fellow-men beyond the bounds of our 
personal lot,"^' Sh^ allies herself with her characters ; while she 

1. Ibid, : Vol. Ill, p, 144, 

2, Ibid,: Vol, 11, p, 262. 

J. Essays; The Natural History of German Life: p, 161. 


is workinj$ thg artist hgrsolf SQQma a part of thQ subJact for her 
art. LikQ a true social workgr, shQ triad to place harsalf on tha 
laval of tha characters with whom she daals, 

"Thus, if I laugh at you, fal lom^mQnl if I trace with 
curious interest your labyrinthine, self-dal us ions , note the incon- 
sistencies in your zealous adhesions , and smile at your helpless 
endeavors in a rashly chosen part, it is not that I feel myself aloof 
from you; tha more intimately I seam to discern your weaknesses, tha 
stronger to me is the proof that I share them. How otherwis e could 

I get the discernment? No can know his brother simply 


as a speot at or » Dear blunderers , I am one of you," 

To me the characteristic part of this quotation, 
however, is not her magnanimous descant to tha oommon-'placa plane 
of her subjects, but her "curious interest" in their doings, and 
in the effects of their actions on their immediate surroundings, 
George Eliot still se^ms a research worker in the field of society 
rather than a lover of mankind. She writes of the lowly man be- 
cause she has discovered that "the existence of insignificant 


people has very important consequences in the world," 

To her, as to V/ordsworth, the main object of art is 
truth, but not that truth which is its own testimony," not in- 
dividual and local, but general and operat ive; not standing upon 
external testimony, but carried alive into the heart by pass ion," 
George Eliot does not appeal to men's pas^iions , because she does not 

1, Essays; Impress ions of Theophras t us Such: p, 2^4, 

2, Adam B9de, Chap, V, 

^, i'/ords worth. Preface to the Lyrical Ballads, 


constdsr them, as do as fiords worth, thQ highest and noblest part of 

men's being;* she strives rather to instruct, to arouse the fn- 

teliect ualized emotions. For the passions are at best, individual 

and ingrowing, while those instincts that have been disciplined and 

balanced by the mind, are social . George Eliot was so predominantly 

a socialogist , that she calmly accepted the non-individual is t ic 

theory of Darwin, "Society she writes," is a wide nursery of 

plants, where the hundreds decompose to nourish the future ten, 

as giving collat eral benefits to their cont emporat ies destined for 


a fairer garden. An awful thought i "So, to her, the two great pre- 
vailing faults of literary art were ins incerity and a lack of true 
moral emo t ion. * 

Her characters are drawn from that independent , un- 
sophisticated Glass which Wordsworth loved to portray, and her pur- 
pose, to a very limited extent, is like that which V/ordsworth avowed 
in his Preface to the Lyrical Ballads: - 

"The principal object, then, proposed in these poems 
was to choose incidents and s it uations from common life, and to 
relate or describe them throughout , as far as was poss ible, in a 
selection of language really used by men, and, at the same time, 
to throw over them a certain coloring of imagination whereby 
ordinary things should be presented to the mind in an unusual aspect 

George Eliot would deny the Justice of the "unusual" 
which has been made attractive by the imagination; to her "things 
may be lovable that are not altogether handsome." ' "There are few 

1. Letter to Miss Lewis, Oct. 27, 1840; Cross* Life ; p. ^6. 

2. Adam Bede, Chap, XVll. 


prophets in ttiQ world," shg says, "fQW subUmoly OQautifuJ womQu; 
fQW hQorQs, I can't afford to givQ all my Iovq and rQVQrQnoQ to such 
raritiQs; I want a gr^at deal of thosQ foQlings for my 9V9ry-day 
fQl low-men,"^ ' ThQ praot ioal Mrs, Poysar would dsny any idoaliza- 
tton of that rustic Ufa of which shg was a part, 

"*Ay, ay', said Mrs, PoysQr, roaohing a small whit a 
basin that stood on the shelf, and dipping it into thQ whQy-tub,' 
the small o' bread's swjgt t' everybody, but the baher. The Misses 
Irwinea allays say, "Oh, Mrs. Poyser, I envy you your dairy, and I 
envy you your chickens ; and what a beaut if ul thing a farmhouse is, 
to be surei "An, I say , "Yes : a farmhouse is a fine thing for them 

as look on, an* don't know thQ liftin*, an' the stannin," an' the 
worritin" o' th' inside, as belongs to 't,"'" 

Even truth in their portrayal , however, is sacrificed 
to consistency with the author's theory. She must always sub- 
ordinate her sympathy j-or thj actors in her drama, to the undeviating 
laws of life, which she has worked out with precis ion. She writes 
Blaokwood in 1660, 

"You remember Lord John Russell was once laughted at 

for saying that he felt confident hewas right, because all parties 

found fault with him, I really find myself taking nearly the same 

view of my position, with the Freethinker angry at me on ono side 

and the writer in the Quart grly on the oth^r-not because my re- 

presentations are untruthful, but because they are impart ial -because 

1, Adam Bede, Chap, XVI 1, 
^. Ibid,: Chap, XX, 



I don't 2oad my dioQ so as to mdhQ thair sido win^" 

Mankind was to hor inter ostingf, and primarily an 
obJeot of studyi ha was a mambGr of that most oompjQX of all 
organisms, sociaty. Upon raoQiving Charles Bray's booh, "Tha 

Philosophy of Naoassity sha writes him enthusiastically, 

"In the fundamental doctrine of your boo?i-that mind 

presents itself under the same oondit ions of invar iableness of 

antecedent and consequent as other phenomena Ctha only difference 

being that the true antecedent and consequent are proportionately 

difficult to discover as the phenomana are more complex J - I 

think you know that I agree. And everyone who knows what science 

means, must also agree with you that thara can be no social 


science without an admission of that doctr ine," 

Thus George Eliot remains, an apostle of det erminism, 
and her peasants are subject to her general laws, 

1, Cross, Life of George Eliot: Vol 11, p. 277, 

2, Cross, Life of George Eliot: Volume I, p. 472, 


Thomas Hardy's V/qssqx Folk, 

"ThQ matQrial of Fiction being human naturo and circuni' 
stanoQS, thQ scianoQ tharaof may oq dignifisd by calling it the 
codifiQd laws of things as thay are,""^' Thus Thomas Hardy statQS 
thQ all^oomprQhensivQ function of his profession. His bold, un- 
flinching temper penetrates to the heart of his subject; he demands 
a knowledge of "things as they are," while George Sand preferred to 
S3e things as she wished them to be. She was afflicted by the 
mal du si&cle, and turned back to Rousseau for an aasthet ic solution 
to the problem of life; he is faithful to the spirit of his 
country and of his own age* He seems to want no pleasurable answers 

to his soul~born queries, and truly represent at ive of nineteenth- 
century thought, he seeks desperately after truth, at any cost. 
By a sincere school of Fiction," he writes, "We may understand a 
Fiction that expresses truly the views of life prevalent in its 
time, by means of selected chain of action best suited for their 
exhibit ion," * His fatalistic pessimism is quite the opposite of 
Meredith's buoyant optimism and insistence on man's power to control 
his destiny; these men seem to experience opposing react ions to the 
same great spiritual crisis, and Meredith emerges, like George Sand, 
bright with hope and confidence, while Hardy remains the great, gray 
sceptic of nineteenth century fiction, 

2, New Review, April, 1891; The Science of Fiction, 

2, Mew Review, January, 1890; Candour in English Fictton, 


Of his two working materials , human nature and cir^ 
oumstanoQS 9 thg lattar ar3, of coursQ, the more important factor. 
In "The Return of the Native," he seems to have reached that blank 
place in his philosophic outlook, which might correspond with 
Carlyle's Center of Indifference. 

"To have lost that godlike conceit that we may do 
what we will, "he says," and not to have acquired a homely zest 
for doing what we can, shows a grandeur of temper which cannot be 
objected to in the abstract, and it denotes a mind that, thou^ 
disapponted, forswears compromise."^ ' 

Clym Yeobr ight was at this stage in his mental devel- 
opment when "He wished to raise the class at the expense of fn- 
dividuals rather than individuals at the expense of the class." 
But this does not mean that Hardy is unsympathet ic with or un- 
mindful of man. His characters are "not mere puppets Jerked about 


by a malicious fate." He sees beyond the external , the knowlodge 

of the char act ers he portrays ;" a sight of the finer qualities of 

existence, an ear for the 'still, sad music of humanity, ' are not 

acquired by the outer senses alone, close as their powers of 


photograph may be." 

Although he does not r ecognize any power of the human 
will as a director of circumstance, he sincerely sympathizes with 
the struggle of the individual soul against th9 onslaught of an 
external force, or circumstance. Of his romance. Two on a Tower, he 
says , "This slightly built romance was the outcome of a wish to set 

1. Return of the Native: 

2. Abercrombie, Lascelles ; Thomas Hardy, 

3. new RQView, Arjril. 1891: T he Sctenne Ftnttan. 


the Qmotional history of two infinitQsimal lives against tho 
St upgndous baokground of th9 stellar univgrsQ and to impart to 
readers the sentiment that of these contrasting magnitudes the 
smaller might be the greater to th&ai as men," It is a certain 
understanding of this smaller magnitude" which gives to Hardy's 
works the quality which is not forgotten; it is his sympathy with 
man, whom he sees as the creature of Destiny, that makes Hardy 
a great novelist. He possesses the qualities which he himself 
ascribes to the born novelist ; - 

"Once in a crowd a listi^ner heard a needy and 
illiterate woman saying of another poor and haggard woman who 
had lost her little son years befor e,*You can see the ghost of 
that child in her face even now,' 

"That speaker was one who, though she could probably 
neither read nor write, had the true means to the Science of 
Fiction innate within her; a power of observat ion informed by a 
living heart. Had she been trained in thQ t echnical it ies , she 
might have fashioned her view of mortality with good effect; a 
reflect ion which leads to a conjecture that, perhaps, true novelists 
like poets, are born, not made,"^' 

To the creatures of this man" of a living heart", we 
must come, through a survey of his life. He was born June 2, 1840, 
near Dorchester , and only an insignificant portion of his life has 
been spent away from that neighborhood. His home, this "V/essex," has 
been the piot uresque background of his tales; his love for it is 
1, New Review, April, 1691; The Science of Fiction, 


too pQrsonaJ to hQ assignad to the gonQral movsmQnt of nat ionalism 
ot to a thQory of the nQCQSsity of local color, His gQinoral and 
unsystamat ic Qducat ion QnablQd him to follow his own instincts to a 
VQry grreat QXtont* At sevGntaQn, ha was appront ioQd to an 
qccIqs iastical architect at Dorchostor; thus hQ was early intro- 
duced to what he supposed would be his prof 93s ion, architect are. 
He studied literature, however, at this time, especially the classics 
and theology, ffis keen knowledge of the currents and movements in 
the latter science are evidenced in Tess of the D'Urberv illes and 
in Jude the Obscure, After tTiree years* apprenticeship at Dor- 
chester, the young man went to London and attached himself to the 
Modern Gothic school of architects, working under the famous Sir 
Arthur Blomfield, ffis success was so great that, in 186^, he re- 
ceived the prize and medal of the Institute of British Architects 
and also Sir V/alter Tite's prize for architect ural design. His 
final choice between architect ure and literat ure was probably not 
madQ until 1674, upon the immense success of his "Far from the 
Madding Crowd; he then moved back to Dor cheat er , where he still 
lives. While in London he had entered as a student of Modern 
Languages at King's College, 

His f irst novel. Desperate Remedies, appeared in 
1871, It is a vigorous story, but awkward in construction; the 

plot is an ingeniously handled one of "mystery, entanglement , 


suirprise and moral obliquities ," In the preface the young novelist 
modest 1^^ admits that he is," feeling his way to a method," The 
1, Child, Harold: Thomas Hardy, 


story is not attract iV9 or agrooahlQ; tho action is determinQd by 
thQ SQcrQt hrgaoh of the moral ood9 i>y a young woman, with whom thg 
roador is not iad to sympathizo. Miss I'oD onQll^ sqqs in DosporatQ 
RQmQdiQS "th9 gfarm of almost QVQry idQa, talent, and tQudGnoy to bQ 
found in his latQr works," sh9 finds, rathgr than th9 tragic 
d93pair with which most young nouelists look on life, an austara 
and resolute facing of its ills, ThQ soQne is laid in ViessQX, but 
th9 peasant characters and humourists seen rather to bQ conventional 
pictures than to be living units of a complex humanity, 

ThQ next year, 1672, saw Hardy's leap to faiuQ with 
thg publication of that "Rural Picturg of thg Dutch School," Undgr 
thg Grggnwood Trge, This delightful idyll shows thg effect of years 
of patient training and observing in Wessex, and, in Miss McDonnell* 
opinion, Hardy has never s urpassed it in bgauty of workmanship and 
charm. Although its substancQ is more psychological than the title- 
page would indicate, there is none of that dark philosophy that 
pervades Hardy's later works; Under the Greenwood Tree rather is 
an gmbodiment of the spirit and the mood of youth, Dick Dewy, the 
young and very ordinary son of Tranter Dewy, falls in love with the 
young school teacher at Millstock, Miss Fancy Day, There are but 
two obs tad es in the path of this love. Farmer Day's obJgct ion to 
his daughter's marrying beneath h^r, and the introduction of a 
rival lover. Parson Maybold, Thg first obstacle is removed by the 
council of the witch," 21 izabeth Endorfield," who is endowed with 
the mesmer ism of common sense, and the second by Fancy's own tardy 

conscience bidding her be true to the faithful Dick, whose sil- 
1, McDonell, AnniQ; Thomas Hardy, 


houQttQ was not quite that of th9 convQnt ionaJ romantic hero;" it 
assumad thg form of a 2ow~orowned hat, an ordinary ^shaped nos9t 
an ordinary chin, ordinary n9ok and ordinary shouIdQrs ThQ story 
ends happily, but the happiness of their Jiving thereafter seems 
soemwhat questionable, as it is founded on a lie. The delicious 
charm of the booh centers about the actions and the sayings of the 
humble peasant folk, and the honour about the manoeuvres of the 
chair and the bee-takers • 

In 187^ appeared A Pair of Blue Eyes, Hardy's first 
tragedy. This is not [preeminently a V/essex novel, as the scene 
is laid in a remote cornish parish and in London, but the life of 
the cottagers portrayed is ess entially the same as in IVessex, This 
work is considered a minor one, but it seems to me very important , 
both for its powerful artistry and for its foreshadowing the ideals 
and ideas which culminated in Tess of the D'Urbervilles and in J ude 
Obscure, The two crucial scenes in the Luxellian vault remind one 
of the horrors of Poe, while V/illiam Worm's "s izzlings and a-fryings 
in his head" and the grave-diggers' genealogical discussion are 
truly Shakdsper ian in their effect of less ening the strain of tragedy. 
The characters all, even including the wavering Elfride, are fine 
and noble; the outcome is due, not to their action and interact ion, 
but to an unaccountable circumstance, incompletely suggested by the 
influence of the dark shadow of Mrs, Jethroio, The tragedy is all the 
more poignant because it ends in bitter, almost cynical irony, 
Elfride Swancourt , the daughter of a rector, loves and is loved by 


StQphQn Smith, a young architQOt, and son of a ston9-mason and 
cottager near-by, John Smith. Upon the vicar's dascovQring the 
young man's social status, tha latter is banished from S2f ride's 
presence, Stephen goes to India, but the two lovers secretly 
correspond, and plan their wedding upon his return to England. 
But meanwhile Henry Knight, Stephen's erst -while friend and patron, 
is thrown in contact with Elf ride, whom he begins to love, Jn short, 
when Stephen returns from India he finds his swoetheard betrothed 
to his best friend. The happiness of the engaged pair is tempered 
only by Elfride's dread of Mrs. Jethrow, who alone possesses the 
secret of Elfride's life - that, at one time, she started to elope 
with Stephen, but returned to her home unmarried. V/hen this in- 
formation is received by Knight in a pos thumoua letter from the 
tragic woman, he leaves in despair. It is a case analogous to Angel 
Clare's; "had he had mor3 animal ism, he might have been a nobler man 
Two years later. Knight and Stephen moet in London, clear up all mis 
understandings about Elfride, and start to her home, each confident 
in the success of his mission, to maJte her his wife. They arrive, 
only to find they have travelled from London with the dead body of 
Elfride, who was, at her death, the wife of a third man. Lord 

A truly great novel, and perhaps Hardy's most popular 
one, appeared in 1874. Far From the Madding Crowd combines a 
realist ic candour with rustic charm and pict uresqueness . Its 
characters are more hnowable, likable, and far more interest ing 
than any he had created before. The plot centers about Bethsheba 


EvQrdQTiQ, a young "farmQrQtte," and h9r thrQQ lovors, tha steady 
patient Farmer Oah^the dashing Troy, and passionate Mr. Boldwood, 
Gabriel Oak's suit is rejected at the outset and he is content to 
be Bgthsheba's shepherd, and to watch, as an outsider, her capricious- 
ness and its ghastly consequences • She married the brilliant but 
hollow Sergeant Troy, who proves a scoundrel , and who leaves her 
a short time after their marriage, Troy is supposed drowned, and so, 
a year after his disappearance, she is about to allow an engagement 
between herself and Farmer Boldwood to be announced, when the hated 
Troy appears, Boldwood madly shoots him, and ends his days in a 
lunatic asylum. The long-suffering Gabriel finally receives his 
due recompense in the person of his love, Bethsheba, Although some 
of his contemporaries , at this time, thought Hardy an idyll is t , Far 
From th'j Uadding Crowd shows plainly that its author is already 
harboring bitter thoughts and morbid ideas. Like Under the Green- 
wood Tree, it possesses the charm of rural, secluded England, and 
there is a pathos added to the humorous treatment of the rustics. 
The author nom has a firm grasp on charact er and a certain power of 
descript ion, not as well marked in earlier works. This novel, says 
Miss, McDonnell , contains the essence of Hardy's genius;" it 
is comedy, tragedy, idyll, rustic, chronicle and shepherd's calender. 
It proves undeniably" the range and room of English country life for 
purposes of fiction," 

"The Hand of Ethelberta," which appeared in 1676, is a 
light, social satire of iVessex and London life. It is but slight in 


QonoQ-ption, although Mr, Johns ori^dQniQS this prevaJont critioism, 
and 30 balanoQd in form and incident as to sasm someiohat artificial. 
It is, howQVQr, intQrQsting as a r Q-pr 3S ant at i on of Hardy's aarly, 
somawhat violant revolt against class di/farancas; with Joay 
Chicl^arel, ha looks on tho world as a "hollar mookary," At this 
period of his thought, monay and social position ara to him, tha 
Evarlasting No, tha raason why thare is not, nor can avar ba uni^ 
varsal happinass , Ethalbarta Chickaral , a peasant girl and tha 
daughter of a somawhat clever butler, has received a meagre educat ion 
and become a companion in a wealthy family. She seems to be un^ 
usually attractive, and she elopes with the son of her employer; the 
young husband unfortunately dias soon after the marriage, and Ethel - 
berta is introduced into London society by her mother-in-law. She 
leads a dual existence, dutifully spending a small portion of her 
time with her humble family. Upon the death of her sponsor, 
Ethelberta is left with a house in town, but no income. She installs 
her family in the house as servants , and. lets apartments to two 
wealthy French gent 1 mien. She loves a young music teacher, 
Christopher Julian, but cannot marry him for lack of funds. After 
many flirtations and partial engagements with noblemen, she succeeds 
in capt uring an old wealthy reprobate, from whom she gains an 
annuity for her peasant family; she then magnanimously encourages the 
marriage of her lover, Christopher, with her little sister, Picatea, 
Ethelbarta's success seems rather pathetic than truimphant ; she says 
somewhat pitifully, 

1, Johnson, Lionel; The Art of Thomas Hardy, 


"I suf/Qr much sadnoss and almost misQry somQtimQS, in 
rQflQoting that here are wq, ton brothers and sistgrs, born of one 
fathgr and mother, who might havQ mixed together and shared all in 
the same scenes, and been properly happy, if it were not for the 
strange accidents that have split us up into sections as you see, 
cutting me off from thasm without the oompensat ion of Joining me to 
any others," 

The characters of the peasant Pickerels are much more 
carefully and sympathetically drawn than those of Ethelberta* s fine 
friends* After reading The Hand of Ethelberta, one cannot but think, 
with Dan, about his sister's lofty attitude toward her family; 

"'Vos, her life has been quare enough, I hope she enjoys 
it, but, for my part, I like plain sailing'," 

The Return of the Native, 1878, is the first of Hardy's 
great tragedies , and, so far as form is concerned, the greatest. He 
has gathered together the "undertones of his previous works;" and 
now has attained s ufficient philos ophic confidence to set forth 


boldly his startling theories concerning human life, Mr, CunUffe* 
sees in this book the evidence of the influence of the sceptical 
current of modern scientific thought on Hardy, as a young man. The 
author of The Return of the Native, however, is mature in his 
thought and in his emotions. The book is a record of conflict 
between the old and the new; between man's futile strugr'les and trie 
calm, ever-truimphant Egdon Heath, Mr, Duff in ascribes the tragedy 

1, Professor J, W, Cunliffe in his Introduction to the edition of 
The Return of the Native published in Scribner's Modern Student's 

2, Duff in, H, C; Thomas Hardy, 



to " gr9atnQ3Q at war with dissimilar grQatriQSs t" to "virtUQ looking 
on truth and failing to rocognize it," Thus it bQOomQs an absorb^ 
ing study of Hardy's gloomy idea of da st iny; the irony Hqs in 
th9 incongruity with which th9 charaotsrs aro "placod" in the 
world. This novQl, ahovQ all othQrs, roprGsants Hardy's ideal of 
art, that of GrQQh tragedy. The Return of the Native witnesses, as 
the old Greek drama witness ed, the overpowering of an inexplicable 
fate; the difference is that the Greeks complacently bowed before 
that mystic Goddess For tuna, while Hardy vain^ but vehement ly pro- 
tests against her. Hardy, specially in The Return of the Native, 
observes the classic unities, of concept ion and impress ion, and 
even of time and place* The peasants form, the chorus, and their 
supers t it ions and homely wisdom help to relieve the severity and 
tension of the tragedy. The dark, ominous shadow of Egdon Heath 
hovers over the char act er and seems, as the poetic pers onficiat ion 
of fate and circumstance, to rule and direct the action and even 
the thoughts of its children, Eustacia Vye, that dark, magnificent 
Queen of Night, with ''Pagan eyes, full of nocturnal mysteries 
lives rebel lio usly on Egdon Heath, while her desires fly back to 
Budmouth or on and away to Paris, She is not immoral, but un-moral, 
living, like a child for self-gratification alone. She indulges 
first in the clandestine at tent ions of Damon V/ildeve, a most fickle 
and despicable character whom Hardy sums up characteristically, 

''To be yearning for the difficult , to be weary of that 
offered; to care for the remote, to dislike the near; it was WildevG* 
nature always. This is the true mark of the man of sentiment. He 


might havQ bssn oallQd thQ RoussQau of Zgdon»" 

Upon hQoring of ths visit of Clym Tgobright »a youth 
who ha3 spont yoars in Paris, howQVQr, she sets hQr heart on a nQio 
idgaJ, and abandons I'/ildevg to his betrothed, Tomsin Yeobright , 
Clym falls desperately in love with Sustaoia, and, against her 
mothar's wishes, marries her, gives up his Parisian life, and 
settles down,t emporarily, in Egdon, Because her husband does not 
take her to gay Paris, and because he, nearly blinded, becomes a 
common furze-cutter rather than to appeal to his proud mother for 
aid, Sustacia becomes repelled by him, and longs again, for the 
excitement of meetings with Wildeve, Pity for her husband does not 

cause her to hesitate from accomplishing her desire, and thus it 
happens that one morning he oomss to her home; while the unfortunate 
Clym sleeps on the hearth before them, they talk of Eustacia's 
unhappiness • Soon they hear a knock and see Mrs, Yeobr ight , with 
whom Sustacia has quarreled and whom the latter has estranged from 
her son, Sustacia pushes V/ildeve to the rear of the hut, and waits 
for Clym to answer his mother's knock. But Clym does not awaken, 
and his mother goes away broken-hearted; she stops to rest on the 
heath, is stung by an adder, and soon dies. Her son, maddened with 
grief, when he discovers that his wife has been what he considers, 
the direct cause of his mother's death, becomes one of Hardy's 
half noble men, **who cannot measure up to the great crises of their 
lives. Though still loving her, he parts from her. In his sorrow 
and loneliness , he repents, and writes her a letter, begging her to 
return to him, but, by a trick of fate, the letter never reaches her. 


The night is hlaok and stormy, and, as ho hears somQ 
one coming to him out of thQ night, he rushes down, expect ing to 
meet his love. Instead, it is his cousin Toms in, who comes to tell 
him that her husband, V/ildeue, is eloping with Eustacia, Clym with 
the story and ever-present reddelman. Dig gory Venn, go in a mad 
search for the pair, and find them, dead, in one of Sgdon's deadly 
whirl'pools . Hardy reminds the austerely artists that he would 
have ended his drama at this point, out "for certain circumstances 
of serial publ icat ion," he adds the happy marriage of Toms in with 
the faithful Venn, and leaves Yeohr ight to roam the heath, preaching 
a new gospel, of whose substance we are left in doubt. The severity 
of this majestic plot is somewhat mitigated by a picturesque setting; 
the tragic element la in combination with the old idyllic one. The 
title of the book, I believe, is extremely s ignificant , as it in- 
dicates a crisis in the author's conception of his literary mission. 
It refers primarily to Yeobr ight ' s abandonment of his Parisian life 
and learning, in order to come back and work among and for his own 
people, Thomas Hardy was as truly a son of V/essex as was Clym Yeo- 
br ight of Sgdon; four years before writing this book, he had left 
an unus ual ly promis ing career in London to go back to his own Dorset, 
to remain there, employing his genius and energy among and for the 
people and the scenes that he knew so well, Clym's experience, so far 
as the title goes, I believe, was analagous to the author's own. 

There follow in quick s uccess ion three minor novels, 
not dealing with V/essex, "The Trumpet ifa^or," I860, "il Laodicean," , 

2862, and "Two on a Towgr," 2862. ThosQ show a rovsrsion to a maSor 

hQy and to a 2ightQr tons, and with it t a fa2 2ing off in powsr, ThQ 


TrumpQt MaJor is "thQ aunniost of Hardy's novQ2s;" it is fu22 of 


harm293S satire, and "Lovq is thQ inconsQquQnt 2ord of a22." ' The 
Laodicean shows a greater depression in deve2opment; its characters 
are du22, even frigid, Even thg heroine, Pau2a Power, is but a 2uh9- 
warm indiv idua2 , ha2f romantic and ha2f uor2d2y. Two on a Tower is 
not in any sense rustic; it is an unpopu2ar outcry against the 
inJ ust ice of convent ions . 2666 saw the pub2 icat ton of "No mere record 
of misfortune; it is simp2y the most hope2ess book ever writ ten," 
The Mayor of Casterbridge, This is the tragic story of one man's 
titanic strugg2e with unseen and unknown forces; as Mr, Duff in says, 
"It is the study of a sing2e morta2 writhing on the toasting-fork of 
fate, "'It is the study of a hay-tr uis s er ' s hopes, his moment ary 
and ho22ow truimph, his dis appointments and his desperate fa22. The 
out2ook is one of "strong despair," Michae2 Henchard, one of Hardy's 
giant spirits, in a momsnt of drunken madness, se22s his wife and 
baby'gir2 to a sai2or. His wife naive2y thinks the contract bind- 
ing, and stoical2y 2ives with the sai2or eighteen years, at the end 
of which time, she, supposing him to be dead, goes, with her daughter 
E2i2abeth-Jan9, ins ear ch of her kinsman," Mr, Henchard* She finds 
him the r sspected and power fu2 Mayor of Cas terbr idge, and, through 
her daughter, she appea2s to him for aid, Henchard, anxious to 
make his wife amends as we22 as to win the 2ove of his supposed 

J. Chi2d, Haro2d; Thomas Hardy, 
2, McDonel2, Annie; Thomas Hardy, 


daughtQr, rsmarrios Susan, About thQ sauiQ timQ ho jQconiQa insauQly 
infatuated with a young Scotchman, Donald FarfraQ, whom he mahQS 
managor of his corn-SQlling busingss. Through Jealously of his own 
authority and Slizahath-JanQ' s a/fQct ions , Henchard kills his friend 

ship for FarfraQ, and discharges him. Upon the death of his wife, 
Henohard opens a letter not supposed to be opened until Elizabeth-- 
Jane's wedding day - a letter which disolos es the fact that 
Elizabeth'Jane is not his, but the sailor'^ daughter , The Mayor be- 
comes so bitter that he encourages the girl to leave his horns, and 
be a companion to some woman, whose name he is too indifferent to 
ask. The lady, however, proves to be Lucetta, recently come to 
Cast erbr idge from Jersey, where she had a questionable experience 
with Henohard, some years before; there they had become engaged 
and the mayor had only been awaiting the death of Susan to carry out 
this design, Farfrae, however, unconsciously out-woos him, and 
wins his prize away. Henchard begins to lose the public esteem, he 
becomes a bankrupt, and a poor hay-truss er again, working for his 
old protig&, Farfrae. Just as he sold his wife, now it seems that 
he is sold, to Frafrae, Farfrae is Mayor, and even lives in the 
QX-mayor*s house, at this, thg wretched, turbulent Henchard cries 
out, "My furniture tooi Surely he'll buy my body and soul likewise' 
His broken spirit is now stimulated only by the faithful Elizabeth- 
Jane, but she, too, is doomed to be lost to him. Upon the death 
Of Lucetta, she, also, is won by Farfrae and her true father turns 
up Just in time to forestall the mayor's last sad privilege of giv- 
ing his daughter away. All the bitterness and heart-break that the 


human hoart can oonoQivQ, as wqII as tha quiet, admirablQ oouragQ of 

the man who says, "My punishment is not grsator than I can bnarl" 

are fait in Michael Henohard* s simple will: - 
"Michael Henchard's V/ill, 
'That Slizaheth'Jane Farfrae be not told of my death, 

or made to grieve on account of me, 

*& that I be not bury'd in consecrated ground, 
*&. that no sexton be ashed to toll the bell, 

that nobody is wished to see my dead body, 
*&. that no murners walk behind me at the funeral, 
'&, that no flours be planted on my grave, 
'&. that no man remember me, 

*to this I put my name 

'Michael Henchard," 

There is perhaps less bit t erness evident in The 
Woodlanders , and hence the work is indicative of Hardy's real 
strength. It deals with humble woodland rustics, the only except ions 
being the unlikable Dr , Fitzpiers , and the despicable Felice Charmond 
Grace shows little change res ulting from her social contact at 
finishing school, with the except ion of a temporary desire for the 
flashiness of Mrs, Charmond, and a greater s usceptibility, perhaps 
to the intellect ual paltriness of Fitzpiers , It is really, a some 
what less ironic, and a morn wholesome tragedy of one man, and, as in 
the case of The L'ayor of Cas terbridge, that man is, inherent ly , a 
rustic. The other characters in The V/oodlanders , however, are not 
so dominated and eclipsed by the central figure as in The Mayor of 


CastQr'bridga. Giles V/int grborriQ, by rQason of a vow madQ his father 
by Ur, IfgJburyt is tha aocQpted fianobs of GraoQ, who has, howQvgr, 
b9Qn away at school, and who has not sQQn her old lover since she 
"must have been in short froclisl" All goes well, until Grace hears 
of a myster ious , romant io, and learned young doctor, recently come 
to this district of the woodlands , Circumstance, in the shape of a 
fr ight ened Grammer Oliver, who has, in a moment of rashness , barter- 
ed with the doctor concerning the sale of her brain after death, for 
a pos t-mortem examinat ion, - this very material circumstance , it 
seems, senas Qrace to the doctor's house one day, and the glamour 
of his mystic array of brain cells and other evidences of profound 
genius, precipitate a romance* As Giles has lost what little pro- 
perty he had, the lumber -merchant Melbury loses his scruples about 
a promise made long ago, and encourages the wedding of his daughter 
and Fitzpiers , the most promising man thereabouts • - The marriage, 
largely because of the vastly different settings from which the two 
principals have sprung, is not long happy. Fit zpiers enters into an 
affair with the dazzling Mme, Charmond, and Grace is left a negl eoted 
wife. She is led to believe she can obtain a divorce, and confesses 
her love for Giles, believing that she can marry him soon, A divorce 
is imposs ible, however, and, upon hearing that her husband is re- 
turning to h'jr home, she sets forth for a friend's home, miles away. 
As the night is stormy, she is lost and finally passes the night in 
Giles* cottage, while he stays out in the storm. The exposure is too 
severe for him, and is the cause of his death. In death, however, as 
in life, Grace leaves him to return to a reformed Fitzpiers ; only 


Marty South, a poor peasant girl luho always lovQd iQft with 
him, always truQ, It sssmst that, in th i doveloprnQnt of Hardy*s 
philosophy. The V/oodlandQra logically beongs bQ/ore The RQturn of 
the NativQ, and ThQ Mayor of CasterbridgQ; it stands, howQVQr , after 
thQ latter and before Tess, as a t emporary ray of hope in pre- 
vailing blackness. 

Hardy's two volumes of short stories "V/essex Tales," 
and "A Group of Noble Dames," came out in 1886 and 1691 r espeot ive- 
ly. The first volume deals with stories of rustic life, of 

human souls in conflict with thatgreat mother, their environment* 


"Unity of effect," says Mr. Johnson," is, in my own Judgment, the 
dist inct ion of Mr. Hardy," This effect is certainly predominant in 
Hardy's short stories, as well as his longer works. They seem to 
me like Poe'st in their intens ity of effect. As is the case with 
his tragedies , Hardy chose rather to be loyal to his artistic 
conscience than to wr'^te for his magazine audience; he adhered to 
a strict and powerful form which he used only through long study. 
The V/essex Tales, contain a greater propor t ion of nature material 
than the novels, but even the most pastoral of them contain some 
satire. Perhaps the most characteristic, and certainly the one most 
like PoQ, is The V/ithered Arm; it is different from Poe in that the 
horror it creates in the reader is inevit ably mingled with human 
pity. Rhoda Brook, a somewhat seclusive milk-maid, anticipates 
with apprehension the return to Egdon Heath of her employer and the 
father of her child. Farmer Lodge, with his bride, Gertrude, Rhoda 
dreams one night that Gertrude has visited her in the night, and 
1. Johns on, Lionel ; The Art of Thomas Hardy. 


that she, Rhoda, grasps tha othQr's arm and throws hor to thg floor, 
Gertrudg's arm aotaally booorngs withgrod, assuming, in its 
hideousnQss , tho marks of the print of a hand, Tho simple Ger- 
trade asks a conjuror about hor affliction and ha tells her that 
Rhoda is a sooeress, her mortal enemy, and the cause of her wound, 
Rhoda and her boy move away. Six years later, Qgrtrude, who has 
lost the Jove of her husband, with the loss of her beauty, goes 
again to the conjuror, asking for a cure. His frightful advice is 
to touch, with her arm, the neck of a murdered man, V/hile her 
husband is away, she contrives with difficulty, to gain admit tanoa 
to the scene of an axeout ion for theft. As she applies her arm to 
the murdered man's neck, she hears a shriak, looks around and sees 
Rhoda and her husband, whose son sha has Just touched. The hatred 
in their facas, together with the horror of har situation, kills 

In 1Q92 appeared Tess of the D'Urbervil las , "A Pure Faithfully Presented," This book was meant by Hardy to be a 
battle-ground; in it the author brings bold charges against the 
J udgmenta of society. In its desperate efforts to be conventional 
it crushas what is finest and most s ens it iva in its members. Al- 
though dealing with a very different type of humanity the argument 
is much the same as in Browning's A Blot in the 'Scutcheon; Tess, 
like Mildred, was pure because she desired to be. Hardy's measure 
of man is in the heart's int antion and longing; society measures man 
by his conduct and fails to r ecognize the external force of cir- 
cumstance and environment which go toward the formulation of man's 


aotions. Anc/gl Clarg, one of tho most admirablQ of Hardy's mgn, y9t 
fails, bQoausQ of his unconsoious Qduoat ion in tho forms of a 
sooiaty which ho disliked hut rgspQOtQd, to mgasure up to thg re- 
quiromQnts of a man, Hardy would show us that AIqq D'UrhQrvilld, 
with all his basQneas and animal ism, is sinoQrs, and true to him-' 
self; thus he is less dancfero us to Tqss and less daspioable than 
Clarg, who, like the Pharisees accusing Jesus, saw white and called 
it black. Thus Mr, Johnson calls it " a long tragedy upon the 
striving of that modern spirit, among the ancient Wessex places," 
Tess Durbey field, a poor peasant girl, is sent, through the poverty 
and ambition of her parents, to search for her supposed relat ives , 
the wealthy D* Urbervil les , V/ith them she secures employment as 
manager of their little chicken farm, and, in this pos it ion, Tess 
is thrown in unwilling proximity to the hated Alec, Four months 
after her arrival at Trantr idge, she returns home, socially ruined. 
Upon the death of her baby Sorrow, she seeks employment in a dairy 
far away, in tho vicinity of Kings ouq, where her "useless ances t ers" 
lie buried. There she meets Angel Clare, a son of a clergyman, but 
mho, instead of entering the Univers ity in preparation for the 
ministry, has come to this dairy as an apprentice. Inevitably Clare 
and the lovely Tess love one another, and after much hesitation on 
her part as well as on his, they become engaged, Tess tried sturdil 
to inform him of her crime, but the letter, in which she has written 
her story, an all-seeing Fate has prevented from reaching him, and 
the two are married. They go on their honeymoon to the house of 
Tess* illustrious ancestors , and, there, on the night of their 

WQdding day, Tqss oonfQssQS hQr sQcrot, Although ClarQ has ad^ 
mittad himsQlf guilty of a liko hrQaoh of tho social oodQ, his 
Calvinis t io anoQStry ris9S up in shama at hQr outragQ, and, in 
thQ QOursQ of a wgek, hs iQavQS h^r, and goQs to Brazil, The brokon 
hoar tod Tsss finds QmploymQnt at a distant farm, loherg shQ is 
shadowQd hy a "rgformod" AIqo VUrhorvillQ. In shQQr dsspair and 
physical exhaus tion, shg goQS with him, and ClarQ rQturns from 
Brazil too latQ, Y/hdn hQ sqqs that hQr husband still Iovqs hQr, sho 
Qmploys thQ only mQans har maddQnQd sqtisqs can discQrn to Idq frQQ; 
shQ stabs D'UrbQrvillQ, For two wQQks Angal and Tqss oontinuQ, in 
sQcrQt, an intQrr uptQd honeymoon begun a year bQfore, Of course thQ 
hangman find them, out in that isolated pavilion of the night, 
StonebengQ; they taho her away from this happinQss snatched from a 
stingy FatQ, away to thQ gallows, where she pays to the full, Tqss 
is an unvarnished soul, and, I believQ, the most lovable character 
Mr, Hardy has produced. Her purity is not obliterated by the gross- 
nQss about hQr, but shQ, rathar, has been enlarged and ennobled by 
the tragedy of har unJust plaoQ in Ufa, Thus Tass of the D'UrbQr- 
villQS, though intensely tragic, ends with the victim in noble 
peace. Like GHqs Winterborna, Tqss has bean happy in dQath, for 
sho has given her poor, tired life for the sake of the one she loves 
There is none of Michael Henchard's moral dis int egration in her, 
but rather, a quiat dignity. 

In 1692, Hardy publishad thQ fantastic tale. The 
Pursuit of the V/ ell -Beloved, The scene is laid on soma distant 
isla and thQ hQro is Jocelyn, a paintQr, who is always in sQarch 

for his idaal woman, the "V/qJ l-Boloved," Ths story in no way adds 

to the author's famQ as a rQalist» More pleasing and artistic 

was his book of short storiQS, LifQ*s Lit tig IroniQs, which appeared 

in 18^4, Their most notable characteristic is local colour. The 


function of the short story is to "shim over the surface of life," anc 
only in his short stories does Hardy do this, "For his plots, in-- 
cidents and scones," says Miss McDonnell ," and for some of his char- 
acters, he has dug into the soil he knows best*" 

In 189^ appeared Hardy's last great work of fiction, 
that much-or it icized novel, Jude the Obscure, It is this novel which 
unmistakably marks Hardy as tho leader in the freer paths of Eng- 
lish fiction. His fearlessness and earnestness in this, the cul- 
mination of that stock of ideas with which he began his literary 
career, have been considered as an insult to civilized society. The 
book was stopped, in serial form, because of the shocked demand 
of the magazine public. Hardy had already boldly stated the pur- 
pose which led him to conceive of Jude the Obscure, 

"Hence, in perceiving that taste is arriving anew at 
the point of high tragedy, writers are conscious that its revived 
presentat ion demands enr iohment by further truths - in other words, 
original treatment ; treatment which seeks to show Nature's un- 
consciousness not of ess ent ial laws, but of those laws framed 
merely as social expedients by humanity, without a basis in the 
heart of things; treatment which express es the truimph of the crowd 
over the hero, of the commonplace majority over the except ional 
1, McDonell, Annie; Thomas Hardy, 

I = 



Thus, in a vory dif/Qront way. Hardy would ally himsolf 
with John Stuart Uill in crying out against the tyranny of the 
majority, and with Oarlylg in rggrQtting thQ aupprgsaion of thQ horo 
in man, Carlylo, howQvgr, thin,.s thQ mark of thQ hQro is his oon- 
duot or the assort ion of his gonius , whilQ Hardy finds thQ horo 
down in thQ human hoart, unsQon and unnot ioQd by sociQty. 

Hardy's tragQdy, lihQ ShaliospQaro's rosults from man 
broaking thQ laws laid down by mon, but ShahQspoarQ asoribQS thQ 
wrong to thQ individual whilQ Hardy asoribQS it to thQ class who 
madQ tha barriors to "natural spontanQity ThQ nscQSS ary ingrQdi^ 
Qnt of a tragQdy, howQvor, is Qvil, thQrofor q, "thQ crash of brokon 
commandmQnts is as nQCQSsary an acoompanimQnt to thQ catas trophQ 


of a tragQdy as thQ noisQ of drum and cymbals to a tr uimphal march," 

In JudQ thQ ObsourQ, the crash comos from thQ conflict 

of a human 90ul with an obJ oct iva govorning powQr; s ubJ Qct ivity 

VQrsus obJQOtivity, and, thQ formQr must inQvitably bo dQfQatQd, It 

is a valiant strugglQ botwQQn Iovq and morality, and tho love, which 

Hardy would havo us bQliQVQ noblQ, bQoausQ it is pos itivQ, is hopQ- 

Iqss bQforQ thQ powQr of a nogatiVQ social tradition; JudQ and Suq, 

arQ arbitrarily plaood in thQ class of thQ "not r 3spQCtablQ»" As 

thQ "acoQpt Qd school of morals," thQ church rQOQivQd thQ hardQst 

blow in this gQnaral tiradQ on sooioty. To bQ himsQlf, JudQ sqqs 

J. Now RoviQW, January, 169C); Candour in English Fiction. 
2. Nqw RQviQW, January, Id^O, 

that it would bQ "glaringly inoonsistont for him to pursuQ thQ idea 
of OQOoming the soldier and servant of a religion in which sexual 
love is regarded as at its best a frailty and at its worst damnation, 
Jude Fawley seems always to he unwelcome to society* When a boy he 
lives with an old aunt who hates children; he fits nowhere, V/hen a 
youth, he is trapped into a marriage with a very uncouth country 
girl, Arabella, and this marriage blights, all Jude's fond hopes of 
becoming a scholar, Arabella leaves him, however, and he goes to 
Chr is tmins t er to obtain work, in the hope of sometime entering the 
univers ity. There he m^ets his cousin. Sue 3r idehead, and loves 
her, she, however, in order to appease the eye of scandal, marries 
a sedate old school-teacher, Mr, Phillotson, She finds life unen- 
durable with him, and so, with his consent, she goes to live with 
Jude, A few years later, they return to Chr is tmins ter , broken in 
heart and scorned by an austere public, Arabella's son, "Father 
Time," has Joined their little family, and when he hangs Sue*s two 
little children and himself, leaving the pitiful little not e, "Done 
because we are too menny," Sue considers it a Judgment of Providence 
on her, and so she returns to her husband, Mr, Phillots on, Jude, 

utterly defected and hopeless, returns to the loathsome Arabella, 
and soon dies of consumption. 

As a painter of nature, Hardy is preeminent among 
English prose writers. Her knows the intricacies of the woods and 
fields about him as thoroughly as Thoreau knew the region of 'i/Valden 
Pond, but Sardy tr lats nature, as he treats man, subjectively, 
while Thoreau is objective in his obs ervat ions . To Hardy, nature is 


a bi:7t all'powQrfal personal itij, wholly apart from, and unsympathQt io 
with man. His artist's ays not only sqqs the sQVQrQ beauty of nature 
but looTfs beyond to her very soul; he studies her ways until he 
realizes the dramatic us efulness of her personality. Nature becomes , 
to him, as infinite and unfathomable oerjainty , and one of the chief 
embodiments of fate, Mr, Johnson s ug, yes ts that Hardy's philosophy 
was not formulated in a dushy library but that his thoughts "seem 
to have come of long meditations in the open air," With this wide 
expanse of the universe about him, his ideas might easily dwell on 
the futility of man's will and actions;" the author seems awed by 
the evidences of the power of the inanimate, "Mr, Hardy, almost 
alone," says Mr, Johnson, "but for certain res emblances to V/ords- 
worth and to Crabbe, has pondered on the country, and has brought 
thought to bear on it," 

He loved that country from which he sprang, and to 
which he had returned after a brief worldly career. His "V/" 
does not coincide with the old V/est Saxon kingdom," but includes 
parts of Somers et , Wiltshire, Berkshire, Devon and Hampshire as well 
as all of his own province of Dorset, It is a region with a proud 
history; that Hardy shared this pride is shown in his The Hand of 
Ethelberta, where Ethelberta attends Lord Montclere's archeological 
party at a beautiful old castle near his home. Although Hardy is 
one of the least sentimental of writers; yet it is the warm love of 
his home, the close ralat ionship between him and all the old sights 
and sounas he knows so well, rather than his philosophic stimulation, 
1, Johnson, Lionel; The Art of Thomas Hardy, 



that QTidQars him to most of his readers* Mr, Johnson suggests this 
quality more clearly; "Most novelists are not at home among the 
places of their imagination: from first to last they describe their 
woods and fields not as long familiarity mahes them appear, but as 
they appear to unaccustomed eyes; there is no heart in them* But 
Mr, Hardy has the art of impressing upon us so strong a sense of 
familiarity with his scenes, that we read of IVessex and we think of 
our own homes," 

That part of wessex that is most lastingly imprinted 
on our experience after reading the V/essex novels is the grim, brown, 
furze-covered Egdon H^ath, Egdon is dark and foreboding; it inevit- 
ably links itself in the memory with the thought of night and 
storms, Tess and Angel, riding to the railroad, across a stormy, 
swampy heath; Sustacia and Clym timing their meeting by the moon's 
gclipse; the fire on the heath that summons V/ildeve to meet 
Sustacia; Diggory Venn and Y/ildeve gambling for Toms in* s fortune, 
<j)hile the glow-worms furnish the only ill uminat ion, and the little 
turf-grazers curiously interfere; these are some of the striking 
icenes which give us such a marvellous atmospheric descript ion of 
Egdon and the "wild rhetoric of the night," The heath has varying 
effects on the souls of its inhabitants but, to all, it is full of 
neaning. As Toms in Yeobright goes forth, alone, to her wedding, 
ier aunt has vague premonitions of wrong, and the heath seems to 

bear out this impression with gloomy foreooding: 

"Then Mrs, Yeobright saw a little figure wending its 

way between scratching furze-bushes , and diminishing far up the vail 


a palQ'bJuQ spot in tho vast fiold of ngutral brown, solitary and 


undQfQndQd, QXCQpt by the powQr of hQr own hops. 

Clym. is a truQ child of thQ hQath, and no amount of 
Parisian trainings can makg a broach in his Iovq for this, his true 
honiQp "^Tha shriveled voicQ of the heath did not alarm him, for that 
was familiar He seems a definite part of his surroundings ; he mas 
permoated with its scenes, with its substance and with its odors. Be 
might be said to be its product Far different, however, the 
effect of her home on Sustacia Vye* 

"To dwell on the heath without studying its meaning was 
like wedding a foreigner without learning his tongue* The subtle 
beauties of the heath were lost to Sustacia; she only caught its 

Eustacia, who belonged in a throng of admirers , attri- 
butes her gloomy nature, her "hypochondriasis," to her coming to the 
wild heath. She would cry out in vague prayer, "Oh, deliver my 
heart from this fearful gloom and loneliness ; send me great love, or 
I shall diet 'But she finds no sympathy in the bare, bald heath; it 
stifles her, until she cries madly to V/ildeve, "Tis my cross, my 
misery, and will be my death'," 

"There was no middle distance in her perspect ive; 
romantic recollections of sunny afternoons on an esplanade stood 
like gilded letters upon the dark tablet of s urrounding Egdon," 

Thus for her spirit the heath is a destroyer of romance 
and vitality; it is a r eact ionary force. It permeates the story, and 
1, The Return of the Native, 


it stands for what permaates Hardy's thought and philosophy, the 
awful, ghastly Truth of things, which dis illus ions youthful Idealism 
und fond hopQ in humanity. It is the Qmhodimont of that natural 
foroQ, or naturg, to which all human dosirQS and str ivings must be 
s ubmiss iva, 

Tess of th9 D'UrbervillQs contains soma marvellous 
naturQ dQScript ions , but thase desoript ions always traat of tha 
bizarrQ or the awe-inspiring, in reference to the effect made on the 
characters. As the tragedy becomes more involved and intense, the 
elements of nature become more portentous ; the storm or the cock's 
untimely crowing do not seem, however, as in Shakespeare, the accom- 
paniments of despair, alone; in some subtle way, seems the cause, 
or at least a contributor to the cause, of despair, Tess and Angel 
are happy, and nature is happy too, but with a lurking dimness, 
sufficient to make Tess think of her unhappy secret, 

"They met daily," th3 author says, "in that strange and 
solemn interval of time, the twilight of the morning, in the violet 
or pink dawn; for it was necessary to rise early, so very early, 

And later he explains a phenomenon which would naturalli 
interest one of his t emperament , 

"The gray half-tones oj-' daybreak are not the gray half- 
tones of the day's close, though the degree of their shade may be the 
same. In the twilight of the morning, light seoms active, darkness 
passive; in the twilight of the evening, it is the darkness which is 
active and orescent, and the light which is the drowsy reverse." 


At this stage in thQ davoloprnQnt of thg atory, hQ fs 
dQaling with tha morning twilight, when "light is active," hut the 
evening twilight comes soon enough, with but a brief and cloudy day 
of happiness • "Or perhaps the summor fog was more general, and the 
meadows lay like a whit 9 sea, out of which is scat tered trees rose 
like dangerous rooks," is Hardy's realistic setting for a delight-- 
ful pastoral. Tess and Angel wander through the fields like 
primitive lovers, with none other except the grsat inanimate forces 
of the universe for company, 

"Thg spectral , hal f -compounded aqueous light which per- 
vaded the open mead impressed them with a feeling of isolat ion, as 
if they were Adam and Eve* At this dim, inceptive stage of the day 
Tess seemed to Clare to exhibit a dignified largeness both of dis- 
position and physique, and almost regnant power," 

Tess* soul does assume a largeness out of proportion 
to her intellect , because of her communion with and study of the 
great educative forces about her, V/ithout being able to explain 
her views, she has become, as Clare knows, a Pantheist, One day the 
workmen were talking around Dairyman Crick's table, 

"'I don't know about ghosts, *Tqss was saying;"but I 
do know that our souls can be made to go outside our bodies when we 
are al ive; 

"The dairyman turned to her with his mouth full, his 
eyes charged with serious inquiry, and his great knife and fork 
planted erect on the table, like the beginning of a gallows, "'//hat 
really now? And is it so,maidy? he said. 


A VQry Qasy way to /qqJ thorn go; oontinugd Tesst 
is to liQ on thQ grass at night and look straight up at somo big 
bright star; and, by fixing your mind upon it, you will soon find 
that you aro hundreds and hundreds o* milQS away from your body, 
which you don't sem to want at alll" 

Tqss, unfortunatQly, is not spirit ually raprQSQntativQ 
of her class, and Hardy, Jest we should gain this erroneous im- 
pression, hastens to make the dairyman disperse such an idealized 
notion from our minds; 

"*Now that's a rum thing, Christ ianner - hey? To think 
o' the miles I've vamped o' nights th^se last thirty years, court- 
ing, or trading, or for doctor or for nurse, and yet never had the 
least notion o* that till new, or feeled my soul rise so much as an 
inch above my shirt-collar , *" 

This the truthful Hardy, unlike Wordswoth, would have 
us understand, is the average feeling of the V/ ess ex peasant toward 
his Surroundings • 

The boy Jude finds himself not wanted at Mary green, not 
even by nature. Nature shuts out her beauties from him as does life, 

"The brown surface of the field went right up to the 
sky all round, as it was lost by degrees in the mist that shut out 
the actual verge and accent uated the s olit ude. The only marks on 
the uniformity of th9 scene were a rick of last year's produce 
standing in the midst of the arable, the rooks that rose at the 
approach, and the path athward the fallow by which he had come, 
trodden now by he hardly knew whom, though once by many of his own 


doad family," 

In ThQ WoodJandars the atmosphQrQ of tho quiet old treos 
gives to the story a unity of solemn dignity, Vfhen Gr-aoe first 
sees Cfiles after her f9W yearns schooling, he is standing in the 
market-placet displaying one of his fine apple trees to the towns- 
men. That he was ashamed of the tree, and gave it away rather than 
humiliate the aristocrat to Grace by dragging it home behind the gig, 
as he had intended to do, is probably s ignificant as typifying 
that s training to be un-nat ural which Hardy deems disas trous to the 
individual . A tree is th9 cause of Marty South's father's death; 
the old man's death is the event which causes Giles to lose his pro- 
perty; his loss is one of the forces that causes Grace to marry 
Fitzpiers , and the ensuing tragedy to take place. When Grace is 
out in the night searching for her husband, and finds Mrs, Charmond 
on the same mission, the trees stand in all their heartless maJesty, 
chanting death hymns, 

"She turned as if to hasten away, but Felice Charmond* s 
sobs came to her ear; deep darkness circled her about, the funereal 
trees rocked and chanted their dirges and placebos around her, and 
she did not know which way to do." 

The pass ionate Mrs, Charmond, too, has enough sen- 
sibility to feel that nature is unsympathetic with man but is, in 
some mys t er ious way, in sympathy with that vague force. Destiny, She 
wearily shuts out the daylight and the heat of the out-of-doors , and, 
in their place, burns a candle and sits before a fire, Fitzpier 
questions her: - "What does it all mean?" 


"ShQ sat in an Qasy-ohair , her faoQ hQing turnod away. *Ohi 
sh9 murmurad, 'it is bQoausQ tho wor2d is so droary outsidQ. Sarrow 
and bit tQrnQss in thQ sky, and f2oods of agonizQd toars against thg 
panQS. I 2ay awakQ 2ast night, and I Qou2d hear thQ sorapQ of snai2s 
orgeping up thQ window-glass ; it was so sadi *" 

This, then, is thQ hortiQ of Hardy's paaaants. Miss Lina 
Wright BQrli'sQQs in the customary Wqssqx farms and hamlQts, as Hardy 
piQturQS thQm, QVQry thing that wou2d fostor thQ immorality of his 
abnormal oharaotQra • Hardy's peasants , however, are not abnormal, 
but unus ually sagacious ; and the immorality is caused by characters, 
or contacts with characters which are products of a totally differ- 
ent environment than the wholesome Wessex, 

Hardy's philos aphy is external; that is, the forces that 
govern men's lives from without rather than from within, Man's destirgi 
seems to rest in the hands of the surroundings in which he is "plac- 
ed"; the placing is accredited to an unaccountable force. The plots 
seam to be woven around some p2acQ, such as Egdon Heath or "The 
Ring" in The Mayor of Caster bridge, and not to depend on characters 
or the p2ay of incidents or happenings of these char act ers , The 
action seems rather to be directed by some subt2e, inQvitab2Q in- 
f2uencQ of place. As Tess tells her tragic secret to her husband, 
"the fire in the grate looked impish - demoniacally funny," "the 
fender grinned idly," and "the light from the water-bot tie was merely 
engaged in a ohromat io problem." As Angle Clare's unnatural lapse 
into mental and convent ional drows inQss when he comes to the 
2, Ber2e, Lina '//right: George E2iot and Thomas Hardy, 


Tal bothaya dairy, is dug to tha draws ineas of tho scqtiq; " IminQdiat oly 
hQ b9gan to dQaoand from the upland to thQ fat alluvial soil bQlow 
the atmosphQr Q grrQW hQavier, thQ languid perfumQ of thg summar fruits 
the mists, tho hay, tha flowgrs, formed thoroin a vast pool of odor 
which at this hour saamad to maha tha animals, tha vary baas and 
butter f lias , drawsy," Tha naturally kaan, alart, intalligant youth is 
out of plaoa in this dulling atmosphare, Tha lova affair of Angel 
and Tass , culminating in a marriage which is wrong in the light of 
both their experiences , is clearly due to its lulling, idyllic 
setting. As Hardy explains, 'The hot weather of July had crept 
onward upon them unaware, and tha atmosphare of the flat vale 
hung heavy as an opiate over the dairy folk, tha cows, and tha treas* 
Christminster is tha unwelcoming home of Jude Fawley; its learning 
and asperat ions beckon to his spirit, if he could be said to have 
had a spirit at the time of his second visit thera. 

'"I lovQ tha place.*" he tells Sue, '"Although I know 
how it hates all men like me - the so called Self-taught - how it 
scorns our labored acquis it ions , when it should be the first to 
respect them; how it sneers at our false quant it ies and mispronun- 
ciat ions , when it should say, I see you want help, my poor friandl 
Nevertheless , it is the center of the universe for me, because of my 
early dream; and nothing can alter it. Perhaps it will soon make up, 
and be generous, I pray sol I should like to go back to live there- 
perhaps to die thoral" 

This same Chr is tmins ter , with its quiet dignity and 
moral integr ity that, quite as much as her int erpretat ion of the 


death of her ohildrgn, brings the erring Suq to a sambJanoQ of sanity 
though belated and selfish, Elizabeth^Jane' s unhappiness lies in 
being brought to an inharmonious setting;" thus she lived on, a dumb, 
deep-feeling, great-eyed creature, construed by not a single con- 
tiguous being," She is constantly subject to the reprimands of the 
Mayor for thanking the parlor-maid or for using picturesque, dialect 
words which are "terrible marks of the beast to the truly genteel," 
Henchard himself is a peasant, and his amassing of huge wealth and 
ass umpt ion of social position are tragic in their consequences • 
"He tells Jl iz abet h— Jane sadly, 

"*I have tried to peruse and learn all my life, but 


the more I try to know the more ignorant I seeml" 

He belongs in the fields rather than in the drawing- 
room or at the head of the council table. Hardy causes him to 
reassume his rightful place, when Farfrae employs him, a bankrupt 
old man, as hay-trusser; thus he returns physically to that state of 
existence in which he was before money and misfortune had entered 
his life, and crushed it. Hardy would have us believe that ruin al~ 
ways lies in the wake of that individual who is out of harmony with 
his environment , V/ildeve says of the misplaced Eustacia, "Such a 
rare plant in such a wild place it grieves me to see;'" Bethsheba 
Everdene does not belong in her pastoral setting. It would seem that 
Hardy found himself a misfit in London, and so came back to Wessex, 
At any rate, he seems to sustain certain premonit ions about another 
country youth, Stephen Smith, who has gone to study architecture in 

1, The Mayor of Caster bridge. 


"Judging from his look, London was the last plaoQ in 
thQ world that onQ would havQ imaginod to £>9 the soQno of his 
act iuit iQS ; such a faoQ surQly oould not hQ nourished amid smoke 
and mud and fog and dust; such an open count enancQ could never even 
have seen anything of the wear iness , the fever, and the fret of 
Babylon the Second*" 

Perhaps the general happiness or, rather, peace- 
fulness of the peasant - characters is due to the fact that they do 
not at all rebel against their surroundings ; they are unquest ioning 
children of the soil. Thoir pos it ion. Hardy suggests , "was perhaps 
the happiest of all pos it ions in the social scale, that is to say, 
above the line at which neediness ends, and below the line at 
which the * convenances" begin to cramp natural feeling, and the 
stress of threadbare modishness makes too little of enough^" Like 
Tess at the dairyman' s , they are "phys ically and socially at ease 
among their surroundings." 

Just as man is influenced and, as Jude says," cir- 
cumstanced " by the inanimate things about him, so is he affected 
in a passive way, by the external lives of the people about him." 
*You are a chamelion, *" says Eustacia to the fluctuating V/ildeve, 
but this seems unfortunately true to a certain extent of all man- 
kind as Hardy sees it. Mr, Uelbury has noticed this quality of the 
dominating influence of environment over inherent force chiefly 
in women: 

"A woman takes her color from the man she's walking 
with. The woman who looks an ungues t ionable lady when she's with a 


pol ishgd-up /qJIow, looks a rnQro tawdry imitat ion artiolQ whan she's 
hobbinc/ and nobbing with a hoiUQly bJadQ,^^* 

Mr, Johnson sqqtrs to rQcognizQ Hardy's tragQdy of 
social mis /its, Hq writQs, 

"Ur, Hardy is fond of pourtrayin^ thg troubles that 

ooTTiQ from thQ infusion of a little Qxper ienoQ, a little eduoat ion, 

dazzling and disquieting, in the old, placid, homely village 

lives; or of showing the effect upon new, vigourous mind and blood, 


of contact with hoar, 'effete antiquity, 

Grace Melbury and Stephen Smith with their "little 

learning and their af/airs with people of a higher social order, 
belong to the first class, while Angel Clare and Fitzpiers belong 

to the second. Tess* tragedy lies in the insane ambition of the 
Durbey fields to be that which Nature had not intended them to be, 
D'Urbervil les . The reader cannot well refrain from muttering, with 
Clare, "I think that parson who unearthed your pedigree would have 
done better if he had held his tongue," That there are inevitable 
and unavoidable class dis t inot ions Hardy does not once deny; his 
democrat ic spirit, however, makes aristocracy repugnant to him, 
Diggory Venn becomes a hated reddelman, and gives up his farm 
with fine disdain; he "r el inquished his proper station in life for 
want of interest in it," He assumes the it inerant exist ence of a 
gypsy, for, after all," only a few inches of mud had kept him and 
his family from being gypsies themselvgs ," Clym Teobright places hi 
native existence in the scale opposite his exper iences in Parisian 

1, The V/oodlanders , 

2, Johnson, Lionel; The Art of Thomas Hardy, 


li/Qt and finds, "'that I was trying to bo likQ pQoplQ who had 
hardly anything in common with mysalf, I was endQavoringr to put 
off onQ sort of life for anothor sort of lifQ, which was not hot tor 
than the life I had known before. It was simply different,'" 
Again, when contemplating the happy prospect of being a turf^and 
furze^cut ter , he tells the stormy Eus tacia," 'The more I see of life 
the more do I perceive that there is nothing particularly gr -at 
in its great 98 1 walks and nothing particularly small in the mine of 
furze-cutting,*" The simple rustic philosophers in Under the Green- 
wood Tree utter some of Hardy's most pointed express ions of the 
indifference in importance of class segregation. There is a certain 
feeling of dignity and superiority in the inference about a certain 
peasant friend, 

"'Ay; one of these up-country London ink-bot t le 
fellers would call Geoffrey a fool,'" 

And Enoch the trapper uses a bit of fine irony when 
he says, "For without money, rr.m is a shadderl '" There is no class 
pride which can subdue the ambit ions of a man in love, however, and 
Dick Dewy, at least once in his life, longs for great riches, Even 
in his exuberance, his wants seem somewhat modest: 

"'I wish I was rich as a squire when l^^'s poor as a 
crow, I'd soon ask Fancy something," 

In the early part of his literary career, Hardy seems 
to have had a more artificial basis for his democracy than in his 
later years, Ethelberta* s charm seems to have come from a polish 
put on her by a contact with the social world, rather than from any 


intrins io srraoQ» Tha pQaaant poopJo caaong who aha had boon rQarQd 
aQ<3m foroign to hQr, 

"ThQ olegant young lady, aa ahg had thQ right to ha 
QallQd if ahg carsd for tha dafinit ion, arrgatQd all the local 
at tent ion whan aha Qmargad in thQ a ummQr -Qvoning light with that 
diadom - and - aoaptra bearing. Many paopla for raaaona of heredity 
diaoovQr auoh graooa only in thoaa whoso vaatihulQa arg linad with 
anoQatral mail, forgetting that a haar may ha taught to danoa," 

Hardy mahas no attampt to protast againat inaquality 
in tha aoQial ordar; that ia tha natural way of Ufa* Ha ia not 
aooialiatio. Tha paaaant ia vary aeldom aontraa t ad to tha man of 
highar rank, and in auoh a oaaa, tha ordinary ruatio ia of tan shown 
at a diaadvantaga* Tha dignity of Hanry Knight's approach to 
"Tha Crags," for axample, ia auggaatad in tha daacript ion of hia 
ruatio companion, "BQhind him wandar ad, halt ar-akal tar , a boy of 
whom Knight had briefly inquired the way to Endelatow; and by that 
natural law of physica which oauaea lasaar bodiea to gravitate to tha 
greater, thia boy had kept at hia heels, whistling aa ha want, with 

hia ay 33 fixed on Knight 'a boota aa they roae and fell," 

Hardy often ahowa an incorporation of tha V/orda- 
worthian idea that worldly experience, and especially learning, ia 
daa truct iva to natural purity and a implicity of purpoaa, Taaa 
Durbey field ia described at firat aa " a merg vessel of emotion, 
untinctured by experience," And Grace Malbary, tha wood-land girl, 
voioea that aame principle of Romant iciam, whan she upraida her 
father for giving her an educat ion. 


"I wish you had riQVQr thought of Qducating ttiq. I wish 
I worTsQd in tho woods like Marty South, I hats ggnt qq2 lifQ, and 
I want to bQ no bettQr than shQ,' "'Why? said hQr amazed father, 
" * BeoausQ cult ivation has only brought me inconveniences and troubles 
I say again I wish you had never sent me to those fashionable schools 
you set your mind on. It all arose out of that, father * If I had 
stayed at home I should have married* - Sh9 closed up her mouth 
suddenly and was silent; and he $aw that she was not far from 

This Woodlander 's daughter , before her marriage, had 
intuit ively sensed the discord that would result by subjecting her 
own native soul in s urroundings to which she was aliin only distant- 
ly through a superficial education. She burst in upon her father, 
a few days before the intended wedding; "'J have been thinking very 
much about my position this morning - ever since it was light; she 
began, excitedly, and trembling so that she could hardly stand, *I 
feel it is a false one, I wish not to marry Mr, Fitzpiers 

Good Old Grammer Oliver feels, too, that t. ere are 
social barriers between the two, and somewhat s upers t it io us ly be- 
lieves that, to break down these barriers, will result in evil. 
At least she seems disturbed at ths outlook, and mutters, "'But 
though she's a lady herself and worthy of any such as he, it do seem 
to me that he ought o marry somebody of the sort of Mrs, Charmond, 
and that Miss Grace should make the best of V/inter borne, '" 

It is the absence of an intrusion in sooity by Hardy'i 
peasants, after the fatal advent of Ethelberta, that gives them 


thair simpl9 charm, Thay /qqJ, with thQ vicar, that, without moriQij 
and pair ician jQUQalogij , StophQn Smith is quitg anothor man than 
that Stephen Smith of the vicar's fond imagination, Stephen's mother 
is not at all the average rustic in her ambit ions for her son, and to 
be truly Hardian, she unconscious ly refutes her own argument : 

"'And come to that, she's not a bit too high for you 
or you too low for her. See how careful I be to keep myself up, I'm 
sare I never stop for more than a minute together to talk to any 
Journeyman people; and I never invite anybody to our party o' 
Christmases who are not in business for themselves,'" 

The country'-folk are content ed with things as they 
are; there is a dignity and s tardiness in their conservatism that is 
affected by no relative consideration of their superiors, Stephen 
is proud to confess that his father was a Journeyman mason and his 
mother a dairy^maid. Although Elfride is shocked at the disclosure, 
he ruthlessly pursues^ 

"'She oont inued to attend to a dairy long after my 
father married her; and I remember very well how, when I was very 
young, I used to go to the milking, look on at the skimming, sleep 
through the churning, and make believe I helped her. Ah, that was 
a happy time enoughl* 

"'No, never not happy,' "'Ves, it was' "'I don't 
see how happiness could be where the drudgery of dairy ^work had to 
be done for a living - the hands red and chapped, and the shoes 
clogged, . , Stephen,! do own that it seems odd to regard you in the 
light of having been so rough in your youth, and done menial things 


. 2, 

of that kind,* (Stephen withdrgw an inch or two from her 3id9,J" 

flow pitifu22y mQagra are the figures of those 
supp03Qd2y nob2e oharaotera , Clare, Fitzpiers , and Knight, by tho 
side of the simple fo2k whose aims they have defeated by reason of 
their glamour. Their superior eduQat ion and refinement , it seems 
has on2y found them 2aoking in the big truths of 2ife, Their 
oharact ers are not stab29 and firm. 

The most popu2ar of Hardy's oharaoters are his rustics 
that compose the chorus or background for his tragedies , They are 
like Shakespeare's peasants both in purpose and in rea2ity. Their 
"c2os9$ narrow and undis tr acted view of things," their unconscious 
sagacity, their s upers t it ious philosophy , a22 combine to make them 
inter est ing but very human and likable. They are a definite part 
and product of thg scenes about them; with them, not only does 
"nature hold the human action in solut ion," but she determines their 
very thoughts and, in a sense, carves out their physiques, IVe fee2 
that poor Thomas Leaf," a weah , lath-1 ike form, trotting and stumb- 
ling along with one shoulder forward and the head inclined to the 

left, his arms dangling nervelessly in the wind as if they were 


empty sleeves," had been conditioned by a Malthusian env ir ormient , 
The soi2 has its ineradicab2e effect even though some may not 


"notice how a whitey-brown creeps out of the earth over us," -Joeyt 
Ethelberta's nQw2y - acquired brother-page, has been reprimanded for 
2, A Pair of B2ue Eyes, 

2, Encyclopedia Br it tanica; Thomas Hardy, 
J. Abercrombie, Lascelles ; Thomas Hardy, 
4, Under the Or eenwood Tree, 
^, The V/oodlanders • 


his superfluous usq of Qo22oquta2 Qxprassions, but ho staunQh2y 
dQ/Quds hims92f: 

"If I ta2'k thg '//qssqx way *t isn't for want of know- 
ing better; 'tis because my staunch nater makes me bide faithfu2 to 
our o2d ancient institutions," 

There are many varieties of peasant fo2ks whom Hardy 
portrays ; farm hands, in The Mayor of Cas terbr idge; wood-shappers 
in The V/ood2anders ; shepherds in 'Far from the Madding Crowd; 
dairymaids in Tess of the D*Urbervi2 2ea ; furze-cutters in The Return 
of the Native; carriers in a Pair of B2ue Eyes; nondescript 2abour'' 
ers in Jude the Obscure; servants in The Hand of Ethe2herta; and 
Cottagers in a Pair of B2ue Eyes, The author seems to know a22 of 
these occupations equa22y we22, and is as much at home when des- 
cribing a sheep-b2eeding or the stacking of a rick, as when 
picturing a honey-taking or an indoor scene of but ter -making. He 
knows his characters and their doings by heart, and he gives us both 
with a precis ion tempaf'Qd on2y by sympathy and an understanding that 
penetrat Qs the surface. 

The rustics are not perfect, or in anyway outstanding 

individua2 in their attainments; they are not, 2ike Eustacia 


Vye, "the raw materia2 of divinity," Their chief virtue is their 
abso2ute honesty and se2f-sufficiency; they are dependent on2y on 
nature for their reprobation or b2ame. 
Like Arno2d's stars, 

"Unaf frighted by the 3i2ence round them, 

Undis traded by the sights they see - 
2, The Return of the Native, 


Th93Q domand not that the things around them 
TiQld thorn love, amus 3m9nt , sympathy,"'^ ' 

ThQir primitive superstitions about places and things t 
and their Pantheistic revelry in everything about them, mahes of them 
at heart. Pagan, They share Hardy's fatalism, "Twos to be" is their 
only oonsolat ion. They should never think it in their power to 
alter the direct ion of the current of the universe when "&od's not 
in his heaven; all's wrong* with the world," As Tess rests at that 
"Temple of the V/inds , " Stonebenge, on that last night of her life, 
she says to Clare," 'And you used to say at Talbothays that I was 
a heathen. So now I am at hornet" 

Tranter Dewy tells his son; "'Your mother's charms was 
more in the manner than in the mataurial , '" And therein lies the 
charm of all Hardy's humble folk. They have no intrinsic grace, 
the "matayrial" that is a product only of generations of cult ivat ion, 
but they employ what is theirs with some a s implicity of motive that 
Hardy finds here the candour and sincerity for which he longs. 
They instinctively loathe what is sham, and cannot conceive of a 
person's actions not tallying with his feelings, Martin Connister 
and John Smith stand discussing Lady Luxellian's death; John reports 
the news, "'Tis done and past, I see a bundle of letters go off an 
hour after her death, Sich wonderful black rims as they letters had 
half an inch wide, at the very least i 

"'Too much,* observed Martin, 'In short, 'tis out of 
the question that a human being can be so mournful as black edges 
1, Arnold, Self -Dependence* 

haJf an inch widQ, I'm sure peoplQ don't fool morQ than a vory 


narrow border when thQy faols most of all,*" 

ThQ Mayor of Caster bridge represents some of the best 
and the worst qualities of peasant people, Michael Henohard, a 
hay-truss er , makes a solemn oath, which "May I be strook dumb, 
blind, and helpless if I break," Against desperate odds, he re- 
gards his oath as sacred, and the keeping of it ungues t ionable. 
There is a rugged honesty, almost to the point to bluntness , ex- 
hibited by the rustics outside the church during the second wedding 
of Sue and Michael: 

"The Scotchman, who assisted as groomsman, was of 
course the only one present beyond tho chief actors, who knew the 
true s it uat ion of the contracting parties, fie, however, was too 
inexperienced, too thoughtful , too J adioial , to enter into the 
scene in its dramatic aspect. That required the special genius of 
Christopher Coney, Soloman Longways , Buzz ford, and their fellows. 
But they knew nothing of the secret; though as the time for coming 
out of church drew on, they gathered on thg pavement adjoining, and 
expounded the subject according to their lights, 

"' *Tis five and forty years since I had my set t lement 
in this here town,' said Coney; but daze me if I ever see a man wait 
as long before, to get so littlel There's a chance even for thee 

after this, Nance Mockr idge, ' ''Turning, he saw a circular 

disc reticulated with creases, and r ecognized the smiling counte- 
nance of the fat woman who had asked for another song at The Three 

1. A Pair of Blue Eyes, 


Maringrs, 'F/qJJ, Mothgr Ouxson,' hQ said, 'how's this? Harg's 
ifrsm Ngwson, a mgro shgll inton, has got anothor husband to ksop hgr , 
whil9 a woman of your tonnaga have not,'" 

ThQir honosty and spontanoity oftan laads to disaster 
in soma dagraa. Fancy Day finds that sha must amploy that social 
implamant , choioa, and sha discards har inol inat ions along with tha 
attract iva Parson Uaybcld, in order to marry the steady Dichi" 'but 
how plain and sorry a man looks in the rain, with no umbrella, and 
wet throughl '" Giles and Grace, in their s impl ioity and real 
sincerity of motive, plung head-long into despair, Grace firmly 
believes that some erroneous news of supposed divorce laws has 
righted all wrongs, and mitigated all evil, 

"To hear these two poor Arcadian innocents talk of 
imperial law would have made a humane person weep who should have 
known what a dangerous structure they were building upon for sup- 
posed knowledge. They remained in thought, like children in the 
presence of the incomprehensible," 

All of Hardy's pleasure ha gains through his peasants. 
Although many of them are mere caricatures , he uses no biting satire 
in depict ing the class. The humour usually comes literally through 
them and from them rather than in them. The tranter explains de- 
praoatingly to Mr, Maybold that Thomas Leaf is "rather silly by 

r nature and would never get fat; though he's a excellent tribble, and 
so we keep him on,'" and the tuburcular treble himself hastens to 
say," 'I never had no head, sir.*" There is another of these sketches 
in The Return of the Native, 


"A /altering man, with reedy hair, no shoulders , and 
a great quantity of wrist and ank2e beyond his c2othes, advanced a 
step or two by his own wi22, and was pushed by the wi22 of the others 
a ha2f dozen steps more. He was Grandfer Cant2e*s younaest son,*" 

Such terse descriptive power is like Carlijle's 
portrait ure in the seizure of a central characteristic and the 
s ubJugation of a22 other features to that one. There is a wea2th 
a s ujgest ive portrait painting in the reve2at ions of the way in 
which the peasants regard their socia2 s uperiors . Marty South 
detects Mrs, Charmond*s yawn, and does some quick reasoning,* 
So rich and so powerful and yet to yawn," she murmured, * Then things 
aon*t fay with she any moro than with we,* *" And the doQtor*s 
abstract ions seem strangely marvellous to Grammer Oliver* s Qars: 

"*And yet he*s a proJeck, a real proJeok, and says 
the oddest of rozums, "Ah, Grammar, he said, at another time, "lot 

me tell you that Everything is Nothing, There's only me and not me 


in the whole world,*'" 

The quaint faith of the cottagers in the current legend. 


and gossip about their superiors is b9St shown by an ingenious story 
told by the driver of the dog-cart bearing Stephen Smith to Endel- 
stow Vicarage, fie points out Lord Luxellian' s home, Endelst om 
House, and in his official capacity of guide, explains ," *V/ell , his 
family is no better than my own *a b*lieve,* "*How is that?* " * Hed^ 
gera and ditches by rights. But once in ancient times one of *em, 
when he was at work, changed clothes with King Charles the Second, 

1, The V/oodlanders , 

2, A Pair of Blue Eyes, 



and saVQd thQ king's 2if9m King Char2QS coma up to him 2ikQ a 
common man and said off hand," Man in the smooh-frook ,my namo ia 
Char2QS thQ Ssoond and that's thQ truth on't, V/i22 you 2Qnd mQ 
your Q2othQ3?" "I don't mind if I do, "said lladgor Lux922 ian, and 
thgy ohanggd thorg and than," "Now mind yQ," King Char 2 93 thQ 
SQOond said, 2ikQ a common man, as hQ rode away, "if Qvor I come to 
thQ crown, you oomQ to court, knock at thQ door, and say out bo2d, 
'Is King Char2Q3 thg SQCond at homg?' Tq22 your nairiQ, and thgy 3ha22 
2gt you in, and you 3ha22 bg madg a 2ord," Now, that was vgry 
nicg of Mastgr Char29y?'" 

Thg simp2Q 2ivQ3 of Hardy's rustics sggm marvg22ous2y 
affgctgd by music, BQthshgba sang, to thQ accompanimgnt of G-abriQ2 
Oak's f2utQ, and thg humb2g 2itt2g group, hgr gmp2oygrs , sat spg22 
bound,' Thg troub2QS of thg Mi22stock choir, thgir caro2 singing at 
Fancy Day's window, thg i22timgd sgrgnadg of V/i2dgvg and Toms in by 
thg furzQ-gathgrs, thg Egdon murmers at Mrs, Ygobright * s : amatgur as 
thQ3Q pgr formancga may bg, thgy a22 havg a poignant gffgct on thosQ 
gngaggd in thg act ivit igs , Of a22 thg intgrgs t ing charactgrs in 
Undgr thg Grggnwood Trgg, - Mastgr Spinks , trig 3cho2ar whosg hgad 
was "finishgd," Mr, Pgnny thg shog^makgr who traced fami2y trggs 
through fQQt, thg s imp2 Q-mindgd Lgaf and S2 izabath Sndorfigld, thg 
sgn3ib2Q witch, - thg most uniqug and powgrful is thg o2d mus ician, 
V/i22iam Dgwy, In Tgss of thg D'Urbgrvi22g3, Dairyman Crick rg2atgs 
a story about his mu3ica2 powgrs: 

"'This man was a coming homg a2ong from a wgdding 
whgrg hg had bggn p2aying his fiddjg, on9 fing moon2ight night. 


and fof shortriQss ' sahQ Jiq took a out across Forty-aorGS , wherQ a 
bull was out to srrass. ThQ bull ssed V/{21iam and tooh after him, 
horns aground, bogad; and though V/ilHam runned his bQSt, hs found 
hQ'd nQvor reach the fence and get over in time to save himself, 
V/ell, as a last thought, he pulled out his fiddle as he went, and 
struck up a Jig, turning toward the bull as he played, and backing 
toward the cornQr* The bull softened doun, and stood still, looking 
hard at William Dewy, who fiddled on and on; till a sort of a smile 
stole over the bull's face. But no sooner did William stop his 
playing and turn to got over the hedge, than the bull would stop 
smiling, and lower his horns and step forward. When he'd scraped 
till about four o'clock he felt he would verily have to give over 
soon, and he said to himself, "There's only this last tune between 
me and eternal welfare. Heaven save me, or I'm a done mani ..... 
It came into his head to play a trick on that bull. So he broke 
into the 'Trinity Hymn, Just as at Christmas Carols inging; when, lo 
and behold, down went the bull on his bended knees, in his ignorance. 
Just as if 'twere the true "Trinity night and hour. As soon as his 
horned friend were down, 'Jill i am turned, clinked off like a long-dog 
and Jumped safe over hedge, before the praying bull had got on his 
feet again to take after himi 

The peasants are direct in all their action; they have 
not been schooled in restraint , and know no middle course. The un- 
couth old furmity-woman exposes the mayor before the ass embled court 
by telling of his sale of his wife years before, which she had wit- 
nessed in her own public house at the V/eydon Fair, There were two 


ttridjQS in CastQrhridgQ where the ruirwd or dQspondQut always 
oarriQ; thoas who haunted the one of stone pondered on their shame, 
whi2e the rustics who came in their unhappiness to the bridge of 
bric/i mere2ii came to wear off their irritat ion. 'Instead of sighing 
at their advers ity, they spat, and instead of saying the iron 
had entered into their sou2s$ they said they were down on their 
2uck." These same characters - Japp, Mother Cuxsom, Christopher 
Coney and Abe2 V/hittle - have an unusua2 method of adjusting socia2 
evi2s, by means of the rude shimrnity-r ide. 

Hardy's predominant character is t ic is his democracy, 
and in this democracy rasts his exce22Qnce and his disquieting, 
even, demoralizing humanitarianism. Mr. Duff in says, 

"This is perhaps his supreme achievement ; to have 
gone down among the unnoticed, forgotten myriads of du22, prosaic, 
average humanity, and discovered here and there among them 2ives as 
mys terious2y interesting and as spirit ua22y adventurous as were ever 

those of queens and emperors In a sense this is Hardy's 

spQcia2 contribution to the Spirit of the Age - Democracy." 

These few mys terious and spiritual2y adventurous 
characters , such as Tess and Sue, I do not be2ieve to be re- 
presentative of Hardy's view of the average peasant. Rather are 
those col2ossa2 but, in a sense, static figures of o2d V/i22iam 
Dewy, Qabrie2 Oak, and Diggory Venn examp2es of the best of their 
c2ass. They are who2es ome, fear2ess and dispassionate. The 
heroic uns e2fishness of tho rQdde2man's 2ove for Tomsin, I think 
is the St urdiness of a hope2ess man, working for no ideal of 


his own, but for the happiriQSS of thosQ around him, Diggory ia 
2ikQ GahriQ2 Oak, but of moro heroic proportions » ThesQ mgn, who 
wera "known by thair Qvory^day apparQ2 rathor than their Sunday 
c2oth9S thssQ ordinary, "Qvery-day sort of men," are 3o2id 
foundat ions on whom sooiQty may bui2d and far, far removed from the 
ins tabi2 ity and socia2 anarchy of Tess and Jude, I do not bQ2ieve 
that Thomas Hardy is "mora22y indifferent"; he sees rather the two 
points "Of -view, s ooiety's and that of the "victim of society," 
Although he fee2s a deep sympathy with the orimina2, he does not, 
even in Jude the Obscure, leave the impres s ion that any change in 
the sccia2 system cou2d better matters, V/ith the excpet ion of Jude 
the Obscure, every V/essex nove2 contras ts impurity unfavorab2y with 
purity, and the purity is the invar iab2e position of those 2iving 
near the soi2, - of the peas ants , Thus they r epr sent what is 
constructive, and essent ia21y fine, in Thomas Hardy, 


Romant ioism and RQalism in Peas ant Fiction, 

AftQr thQ rgform bill of 28^2, Felix Ho2t spoke to the 


"We have been s areas t ica22y ca22ed in the House of 
Commons the future masters of the country; and if that sarcasm con- 
tains any truth, it seems to me that the first thing we had better 
think of is, our heavy respons ibi2ity , - that is to say, the terrible 

risk we run of working mischief and missing good, as others have done 

be for 3 us." 

The air was heavy with a forvor of democracy , and as 
a result of the prevalent polit ioal agitat ion, there arose a 
literature of and for the people. In England, as in France, this 
democrat ic literary movement developed out of the chaos of the 
French Revolution, As Felix Holt s uggested, legis lating bodies had 
given the common people a political status; it remained for 
liter at ure to make that position sound. Writers living in such 
stirring times could not be neutral on its issues. They found them- 
selves writing for a public intensely interest Qd in men, George Sand, 
as polit ician and as editor, staunchly supported the extreme left 
win^g. Happily, in her later life and work, her early violence was 
mellowed into an Idealistic Humanitar ianism, much better suited to 
her power, George Eliot was an intimate friend of most of the leading 
economists of her day, but, as she dwelt in the realm of "higher 
thought her influence on democracy is not so easily discerned as 
1, George Eliot's Essays - Address to Working Men, 

Um9. Sand's. 

Thomas ffardy, though personally a rQolusQ perhaps did 
mors than either of these to democrat ize literature and thought. 
Indeed, he preaches such unbounded individual ism that the welfare 
of society is overlooked - He brought the new member of the common- 
wealth, the ins ignifioant peasant, to the notice of a startled 
public, Mr, H. C, Duff in recognizes this as Hardy *s chief contri^ 
button to his age, 

"Few have dared to credit the school-teacher or the 
hay-trusser with the possess ion of a soul, much less dreamed of 
going to the trouble of dissecting it and showing its grandeur and 
beauty. This is perhaps his supreme achievement ; to have gone down 
among the unnot iced, forgot ten myriads of dull, prosaic, aver age 
humanity, and discovered here and there among them, lives as mysteri- 
ously interesting and as spiritually advent urous , as were even those 

of queens and emperors In a s^nse it is Hardy's special 

oontribut ion to the Spirit of the Age, He first declared Demos him^ 
self to be a person of fathomless subtlety and Olympian grandeur 

This close ass ociat ion with the temper of their 
times gave to the peasant writers an inevitable motive of reform. 
Just as Charles Kingsley and Dickens fought against the causes of 
human poverty and misery in urban life, so these authors, in varying 
degrees, sought to ameliorate the unfortunate conditions in the 
country life about them. There is leas evidence of definite reform 
in George Sand than in the English writers; she seems to regard her 
char act ers as charming friends, whose ignorance and superstition are 


but ins eparab29 parts of thoir oharm, Mauprat doos not think it 

advi3ab29 to removQ PatiQncQ from his piot urasquQ SQtting by rriQans 

of an Qduoat ion forQign to his naturQ, 

"Thanks to thQ acoidents of my birth and fortunQ, I had 

arrived at comp29tQ dQV92opmQnt , whi29 Pat i9no9, to the hour of his 

d9atht r9main9d groping in th9 darhn9ss of an ignorance from which 


h9 ngither wou2d nor cou2d Qm9rg9," 

To G9or^9 E2iot and to Thomas Hardy, how9V9r, tha idea 

of a mission seemed a2ways to be present, George Elliot writes,"To 

find right remedies and right methods - Here is the great function 

of kno'd)2edge*" She might have added, "of fiction, too," for her 
nove2s seem experiment ~tab2 93 on which she is const ant 2y working at 
the prob2em, Hardy*s mission is 2ess evident; he pub2 ished no 
addresses to l7orking-Men, But he shows us that "characters deter 
orate in time of need;" he makes us sympathize with E2izabeth-'JanQ* $ 
" fie2d-mouse fear of the oou2ter of destiny despite fair promise, 
which is common among the thought fu2 who have suffered ear2y from 
poverty, and oppress ion;" IVe fQe2 a sense of ashamed socia2 respons i^ 
bi2ity toward her "whose youth had seemed to teach that happiness 
was but the oocas iona2 episode in a genera2 drama of pain," And yet 
Miss Berle^ insists that Thomas Hardy is indiff9rent to mora2ityl 

This demor actio movement in fiction is a curious 
outgrouth of thg Romantic tendency in ear2ier poetry, George Sand 
in early youth, eagerly absorbed the vague nat ura2 is t ic and optimisti 

1, Mauprat, p, 1^1, 

2, George Eliot's Essays - Address to Working-Men, 

^, Lina Wright Eerie - G9org9 Eliot and Thomas Hardy, 


thQoriQs Or hQr mastQr, Ro us3 qqu. At that s ariQr poriod in hgr life, 
lohon shQ wrotQ her delight ful pastorals , shQ had modifiQd hor young 
Qnthus ias t ic ideals of life, but she did not discard the exuberant 
spirit of her old teacher. The peasant ignorance, for ins tance, was 
not, for her, a cause of concern and pity; she, rather, quietly 
accepted it as a part of th^ir delicious nadvet^, Brulette, who has 
had the superior advantage of a little learning at the hands of the 
parish priest, speaks of Joseph as an "egoist Tiennet does not 
know the meaning of the word, but Q-eorge Sand would give him the 
superior quality of int uition and insight by causing him to interpret 
the little girl's statement as meaning that Joseph is afflicted with 
a mortal malady,^ ' After all, Joseph's disease is fatal. 

George Sand, in her pagan worship of nature and her 
love for the countryman because she feels he absorbs the bigness and 
the purity of that nature, - seems far more like V/ordswor th than his 
English literary descendants , George Eliot and Thomas Hardy, Words ^ 
worth came to his love of humanity th roug h his study of nature; he 
heard the "still, sad music of huma nitij " while listening to the voice 
of the brook n:^ar Tint urn Abbey, To George Eliot Nature is not at all 
allied with the soul of man, except, perchance, in playing an un^ 
merciful part in his downfall • Her peasants , unlike Michael, find 
no sympathy or seeming understanding in nature* 

"V/hat were little Tina and her trouble in this mighty 
torrent, rushing from one awful unknown to another? Lighter than the 

1, George Sand - Les Ma^tres Sonneurs , p. 

2. V/ordaworth - Tint urn Abbey, 


amallost cantgr of quivQr ing li/Q in tha watQrdrop, hiddQn and 

uncargd for as the puJsQ of anguish in the brQost of the tiniest 

bird that has fluttered down to its nest with the Jong-sought food, 


and has found the nest torn and empty." 

The degree of the influence of the nature-school on 
Thomas Hardy is harder to determine. His position is not so posi- 
tive as George Elliot's, and far more complex. Like a true Romanti- 
cist, he pr oalaims the happiness of the simple peasant, "below the 

line at which the convenances begin to cramp natural feeling, and 


the stress of thr eadbare modishnes s makes too little of enough," 
Like George Eliot , though, he sees in nature no friendly accord with 
man; she is, rather, but the objective embodiment of a heartless 
destiny. Hardy has been accused of being immoral and of carrying 
out the pr inciples of free love int imated by the early Romant ids ts , 
Rousseau and Byron, To me his work seems to repudiate such an 
aocusat ion; his nemeses point toward chastity and conformity to the 
tried laws of mankind. True it is that Sue Bridewell thinks she 
finds her ideal of earthly happiness in a shepherd's hut, 

"* I rather like this , * said Sue, while their enter- 
tainirs were cloaring away the dishes, * outside aJ 1 laws except 
gravitation and germination,*" 

But her lover quickly retorts, 

"*You only think you like it; you don't. You are quite 

1, George Eliot - Scenes of Clerical Life - p, 222. 

2, Thomas Hardy - Tess of the D'Ur berv i lies , p, 144* 



a product of civilization,*" And Suq, a/tsr years of blind striv- 
ing for hor romantic ideal finds that her own inst incts and nature 
are no_t moral guides. She Jongs to have sacrificed everything to duty 
and she cries, "S-Jf-renunciat ion - that's everything^ 

"'V/e went about loving each other too much," 'she 
says to Jude, *" indulging ourselves to utter selfishness with each 
other i We said - do you remember? - that we would make a virtue of 
Joy, I said it was Nature's intent ion, Nature's law and raison 
d'etre, that we should be Joyful in what instincts she afforded us - 
instincts which civilization had taken upon itself to thwart, V/hat 
dreadful things I said' And now Fate ha3 given us this stab in the 
back for being such fools as to take Nature at her wordl'" 

Ifathew Arnold recognized as George Sand's gr o und-mot iv( 
"the sent iments of the ideal life," and as the fundamental basis of 
romantic appeal, an undaunted Idealism, When he went to see her as 
a "youthful enthus ias t ic foreic/ner who had read her works with 

delight ," he was left with a single impress ion of "simplicity, 


frank cordial simplicity," Her search is, like V/ords worth' s , 

for a vague, ideal truth, and she protests that her sentiment is not 


"V/hat I am", she says, "everyone can be; what I see, 

everyone can see; what I hope, everyone can attain. It is only 

necessary to lov9 truth, and I believe that everyone would feel the 

need of finding it," 

Im Hardy, Jude the Obscure, p, 16^, 
2, Hardy, Jude the Obscure, p, 411, 

J. Hardy, Jude the Obsure, p, 40^, 
4, Uathew Arnold - Mixed Essays - George Sand, 
J. Questions d' Art et de Litter at ure. Prefaces Generales 11 . 


To makQ evdr yon Q Jove the truth as she sees it, then, 

she writes in a vein directly opposed to George SJiot's^ Unlike the 

dogjed fatalism, of Adam Bede or Tom Tul liver, the outlook of George 

Sand's aharacters , in her peasant novels, is invariably happy. Le 

Qrand-Buoheax foresees a future of perfect bliss for his little 

family, because his needs are unselfish, and simple - 

"'I will be happy,*" he says, "'to make the wheat 

grow, no more to fight the shadows of the Good God.*" - he had been 

a wood^cut ter - and to compose my little songs in my old way, 

in the evening on my door-step, in the midst of my family, without 

going to drink the wine of others, and without making others 

Jealous, *" 

M. Smile Moselly enthusiastically excuses Mme. Sand 

for her rosy view of humanity by saying that "with her, as with 

Goethe, as with the greatest, the real for a long time and habit ual - 


ly observed, is transmuted to the appearance of poetry." 

There is none of this perfection of the simple life 
in the works of George Elliot or Thomas Hardy. Their attitude 
toward Romantic ideal izat ion might be found in Hardy's remark about 
Tess' lips. 

"But no; they were not perfect. And it was the touch 
of the imperfect upon the intended perfect that gave the sweetness $ 
because it was that which gave the humanity."^ ' 

1. George Sand - Les Uaitres Sonneurs . p. ^91. 

2. Les Femmes Illus tres - p. Q. 

J. ffardy - Tess of the D'Ur bervilles - p. 169. 




To Hardy, human oharactQr is madQ up of opposing 
QlsmQnts , good and bad, nohlQ and ridiculous , Gabriol Oak, who was 
"nQVQr VQry clQvgr on his inside," and who "walked unassumingly, 
as though he had no great claim on the world's room, "was yet a 
gigantic, manly figure in life's drama. Perhaps, in his effort to be 
realistic at all costs. Hardy becomes at times grotesque* To com- 
pare the "red interior of her mouth" when she yawned, to a snake's, 
or to say that Tess' beaut if ul hair became "clammy, till it hardly 
was better than sea-weed," - such analogies are s uperfl uous ly incon- 
gruous. Instead of a lovely picture of domestic happiness such as 
George Sand gives us in La Mare au Diable, Hardy paints in grey 
half-tones the Durbey field ship in full sail, 

"If the heads of the Durbey field family chose to 

sail into difficulty, disaster , starvat ion, disease, degradat ion, 

death, thither were these half-dozen little captives under hatches 

compel led to sail with them - six helpless creat ures , who had never 

been asked if they wished for life on any terms, much less if they 

wished for it on such hard conditions as were involved in being of 


the shiftless house of Durbeyfield," 

As an integral part of George Sand's Idealism and as 

an innate element of her personality, she had an unbounded faith 


in the goodness of man. She writes indignant ly to Flaubert, 

"And you, friend, wish that I say: man is so made; 
crime is his express ion, infamy is his nature? No, a hundred times. 

No: " 

1, Tess of the D'Urbervilles , p 21, 


G-QorgQ Eliot SQQms to havQ a dirQOtly opposingr 
attitudQ toward her fQllow-mQn, Partly through her aas ooiat ion with 
the philos ophsr Lqwqs , and partly through a soiQntific mania for 
inv9st igat ion in hor own nature, she soannQd mankind through a 
micros oopQ which magnified all his wgaknQSSQS • To hor, then, 
humanity in the lump - and QSpQcial 2y rustic humanity - is basQs 
only a fQW noblQ lights lihQ Adam BedQ or Silas Marner shine out 
in the prevail ing gloom. Boh Jokin who promises to be one of these 
pure lights, yet fails because of his every-day dishonest dealings 
as a pedller of flannels "I clap my thumb at the end o* the 
yard," he tells Maggie proudly, "and out o* the hither side of it, 
and the old women aren't up to * t .""^ ' The author pictures the 
meanness of her subjects in no more convincing way than by telling 
of their insat iable love of gossip. It was so with the people of 

"I am by no means sure, she cautiously proceeds with 
her accusation - "that if the good people of Milby had known the 
truth about the Countess Czer laski, they would not have been con- 
siderably disappointed to find that it was very far from being as 


bad as they imagined," 

Hardy, as I have already said, seems to me to take 
the mid-pas sage between George Sand and George Eliot in his fun- 
damental attitude toward human characters ; he, I believe, platted 
his course between the Scylla of excess ive Romant icism and the 

1, George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss, p, 299, 

2, George Eliot, Scenes of Clerical Life, Amos Barton, Ch. 4, 


Charybdis of UatQr ialism. To hirrit msn are not good or bad booaasQ 
of that portion of Jifg to which they boloncf, but beoausQ of a 
motiv9 foroQ within them, GQorgg Sand thought Garmain was nobla 
oQQauso hs was a pQasant and lived close to nature; George Eliot 
thought Bob Jokin could not help but be bad because of a like en- 
vironment. Hardy thought man was good or bad as he willed to be, re- 
gardless of the stratum of society to which he belonged; Angel Clare 
voices this philos ophy when he says, 

" 'Distinction does not consist in the facile use of a 
cont gmpt ible set of convent ions , but in being numbered among those 

who are true, and honest, and J'ust, and pure, and lovely, and of 


good report - as you are, my Tess,*" 

From th9 cont emplat ion of the basic qualities of 
man's nature would arise the quest ion, "Is he master of his own 
destiny?" A type of literature dealing with such superst it ioua 
figures as peasants , to be most artistic, would adopt the belief 
of those peoples in the inefficacy of man's actions, George Sand's 
powerful faith in humanity , however, would admit no such theory, 
Landry, it is true, says somewhat passively, "You see indeed that 
fate decrees it, and you know that it is necessary not to go against 
the will of fate," But Mme, Sand's characters are subject to no 
great power outside themselves; their destiny is in their own hearts. 
Sylvinet and Joseph, the two really tragic figures in her pastorals 
are victims of their own selfishness , She bitterly upbraids Flaubert 
for his pessimistic nonchanlance after the disaster of the Franco- 
is Tess of the D'Urbervilles • p. 222, 


Prussian war: 

"FrariQQ agonizQs, that is QQrtain; wq ara all sioJi, 

unstrung, ignorant and disoouragQd; to say that this was writtgn, 

that it had to be so, that that has always bsQn and will always 

hOt that is to begin again thQ fable of the t Qaohar and the child 

who drowned himself^ So much to say immediat ely: this is so; but 


if you add: this does not concern me, you are mistaken*" 

CrQorgs Eliot, of course, is quite as negative as 

Ume, Sand is positive. The doctrine of "thy daily stage of dutxj run" 

is not at all compat ible with imit iat ivQ» Seth was bid not to"be 

in a hurry to fix and choose your own lot," hut he must rather "wait 

to be guided," Such a hopeless view of human endeavor leads 

naturally to pess imism in regard to all effort. It leads Mrs, 

Poyser to moan, "As for farming, it's putting mone\i into your pocket 

with your right hand and fetching it out wi* your left. As fur as 

I can see, it's raising victual for other folks and Just getting a 

2, ■ 

mouthful for yourself and your children as you go along," 

Although Hardy, unlike George Eliot, was cons oious of 
both the greatness and futility in man's life, and although he 
r Qcognized the nobility and power of the human will, he nevertheless 
makes his char act ers subservient to an aue-inspiring power. Sue 
Bridewell calls this Power above us, to whose ancient wrath we must 
conform, God; Jude says, "It is only man and senseless circumstance,"' 

1, Correspondence with Flaubert , p, 272, 

2, Adajn Bede, Chap, VI, 

J. Jude the Obscure, p, 407, 


UQnry Knight at tr ibut 3S ElfridQ*s dQath to "ths coarsQ QlQmQnts of 
acoidQnt but Stophen Smith is doubtful , Tqss rogreta that her 
lot fQll on a blight Qd star when there ware so many morg whole and 
sound. Angel Clare adopts an atheistic solution by saying, 

"God's not in his heaven; all's wrong with the world. 
Hardy himself ascribes to the grim dark figure against whom man is 
ever vainly battling the appellat ions of Chance, Blind Circumstance, 
the Die of Destiny, and the President of the Immortals , Thus Hardy 
seems to have no definite system of fatalist ic philosophy; the 
great force that rules the world seems with him to be an artistic 
device, borrowed from his models, the ancient Greek tragedies , 

Happily, none of these peasant writers deals with 
peasant life in a pitying or sentimental way; there is no Dickens- 
like tearfulness in any of them. In her early introductions of 
peasant characters as in Jeanne, for example, George Sand dealt 
with her country girl in a somewhat moralizing way, depreciating the 
"upper classes" to which she is shown in contrast. The Pamela-1 ike 
servant attitude isdropped in lime. Sand's later product ions and the 
peasant steps out in his true independent character , There is even 
an aloofness in certain of George Sand and George Eliot's characters 
in their attitude toward strangers , against whom they had a strong 
preJ udice. Of Adam Bede we are told, 

"*He has an independence of spirit enough for two men - 
rather an excess of pride if anything, '" 

Hardy shows an indifference to class dis t inct ions . He 

does not treat the peasant as a wronged individual but rather as 

a dsfinitg mQm'bQr of tha social body. This, of course, is in accord 
with his prgvailing, unprejudiced Trimmer's attitude toward the 
virtues and the vices of his fellows, 

Q-eorge Sand was, like her peas ants , a Pantheis t , 
She worshipped the living forces in the nature about her, Uathew 
Arnold set forth as the principal elements of her strain: "the 
cry of agony and revolt, a trust in nature and beauty, and the 
aspirat ion toward a purged and renewed human s ociety," Her spir itual 
reaction then to the storm period of her mental history was to seize 
upon what Mr, Babbitt calls a "painless substitute for genuine 
spiritual effort," ' She evidently thought that "to go out and 
mix one's self up with the landscape is the same as doing one's duty,' 

As a young woman, struggling amidst vague hetorodox 
notions inculcated by Strauss, George Eliot, too, had taken refuge 
in an all-embracing Pantheism, The Puritanism in her nature, how- 
ever, made her pause on the admonition," By their f rui ts ye shall 
know them;" she abandoned so vague a theory. The ideal religion of 
her peasants , then, so far as she attains an idoal, is the practical 
Methodis t teaching of Dinah Morris, But, even then, the power of a 
personality is greater than her creed, and, had we not seen how 
noble Dinah really was, we might too, with Adam, "ha* thought a 
preaching woman hateful ," 

Hardy's peasant religion seems, too, to be measured 
by the standard of practicability. An " aut omat ic orthodoxy" seems 
insufficient to Nature's children, "obviously unreal in lives 

1, Irving Babbitt, Rousseau and Romant icism, p, 286, 


9339nt tally naturalistic^" Although Tqss went to church ovary 
Sunday, Angol ClarQ knew that, "the confusad holiefs which shQ hold, 
apparent ly imbibod in childhood, wora, if anything. Tract ar ian as to 
phraseology and Panthois t ic as to qssqucq, " Hardy's intense de- 
mocracy would completely endorse no set creed. His position was 
rather that of Angel Clare among his orthodox brothers, 

"Though the most appreciat ive humanist, the most ideal 
"el igionis t , even the finest theologian and Chr is tologis t of the 
threQ, there was an alienat ion in the standing consciousness that 

his squareness would not fit the round hole that had been prepared 

for him," 

It must be admitt ed, too, that with Hardy's pract ical 

individual s tandards in religion, he had an artistic criterion which 

vould admit him to the group of Christian aesthetes. Like Angel 

71are, he felt "that it might have resulted far better for mankind 

if Greece had beQn the source of the religion of modern civil izat ion, 

2nd not Palest ine," 

Finally, George S'and treats her peasants in a poetic, 

lyric fashion from within; to her they are picturesque, but loved 


friends* "I have been found fault with; she says, "for liking the 
oeas antry. Among these I have passed my life, and as I have found 
them, so have I described them, "George Eliot, however, although she 
tnows her peasant folk, se^ms not to have made them her friends. They 

1, Tess of the D'Urbervilles , p, 18^. 

2, Tess of the D'Urbervilles , p, 167 


are to TxQr int Qr q3 t ing 9 merQly from thQ point of viQW of on© mho 
would hQjp them; GoorgQ Sand Jovqs thorn so impuJs ivQjy and 30 s fn- 
oQrolij that she oxpQCts Iovq from them in rat urn. It is porhaps 
thQ Snc/lish rustic's inability to deal in abstractions, his instanso 
concretnQss , that makos of him a suitable obJQot for QsorgQ Eliot's 
unimpass ionQd study. Hardy , I oqHovq, usqs thQ s uhJ QOt ivQ method 
of dQaling with his character s , but he avoids the idealizat ion of 
their good qualities , He deals with the common man, in a classic 
way, - as Shakespeare dealt with men of higher station, ^ as a human 
will in conflict with itself and with the powers that be» 


GeorgQ Sand, 

OevrQs Compl^t 93 do QGorgs Sand; Paris, Calmann-L&vy: - 
Franco ta la Champi, 1904, 
Histoira de Ma Vie, Four Volumos; 189^, 
JacquQS . 

Lqs Mattros Sonneurs, 
La MarQ au Diahle, 
Mauprat , 

La PQtite FadQtte, 

QuQstions d* Art Qt dQ Litt&raturo, 

CorrQspondQnoQ aveo Flaubert , 

Criticism and bio^aphy: - 

UosQily, EmilQ; Goorgo Sand, Paris, 1911, Sub- 
titlQ, Lqs FommQs IllustrQS , 

LapairQ Qt Roz; La Bonne DamQ dQ Nohant , 
Paris, Sooi&t^ dQS Publications , 1896, 

Lq Roy, Albert; GeorgQ Sand Qt Sqs Amis, 
Paris, Paul Ollendorff, 190^, 

Buis , LuciQn; Lqs Theories Social es de George 
Sand, Paris, A PQdonQ, 1910, 

Revon, MichQl; George Sand, Paris, Paul 
Ollendorff, 1896, 

Thomas, BQrtha; GeorgQ Sand, Boston, RobQrts 
Brothers, 168^, 

Zola, ^Hq; Documents Lit t&rairQs: pp, 19^-241 
Paris, Charpentier, 1912, 

St^fane - Pol; Trois Grandes Figures. Paris, 

CrQorgQ Eliot, 

IllustratQd Storlincf Edition of hor worlds* Boston, Dana 
SstQs and Co, : - 

ScQnoa of Clorioal LifQ, 
Adam BedQ. 

ThQ Mill on thQ Floss. 
Silas Ifarnor, 

Sssays; Impress ions of ThQophras tus Such, 

Crit ioism and biography: - 

Cross, J". 'i'V,; Goorgg Sliot's LifQ as Rglated in her 
Letters and Journals , London, Blackwood, 168^, 

Stephan, Sir Leslie; George Eliot, New York, London, 
The liaomillan Co,, 1902, 

Deakin, Mary Hannah; The Early Lire of George Eliot, 
Manchester, University Press, 191^, 

Gardner, Charles; The Inner Life of George Eliot, 
London, 1912, 

Cross, Mary Ann; Letters from George Eliot to 
Elma Stuart, London, Simpkin, Marshall , Hamilton, 
Kent and Co, , 1909, 

Browninr/, Oscar; Life of George Eliot, London W, Scott, 

Thomas Hardy, 

Books hy Thomas Hardy; New York, Harper and Brothers , 169^: 
Desperate Remedies , 
Under the Greenwood Tree, 
The Hand of Ethelberta, 
Far from the Madding Crowd, 
A Pair of Blue Eyes, 


ThQ Mayor of Cas tgrhridgQ, 
ThQ Ftsturn of thQ Hativa* 
V/qssqx TalQS, 
ThQ V/oodJanders • 
Tqss of thQ D'UrhQrvillQS . 
JudQ thQ ObsQiirQ* 
Criticism and hiogra'phy: - 

MoDonQll, AnniQ; Thomas Hardy, London, ffodd^sr and 
St ought on, 2894, 

AhQrcromhie, Las qqUqs ; Thomas Hardy, London, 
Martin SQoTiQr , 1912. 

Child, Harold; Thomas Hardy, Nqw Y'ork , Henry Holt, 1916, 

Duff in, HQnry CharlQs; Thomas Hardy, London, 
Loncfmans , GrQQn and Company, 1916, 

Johnson, Lionel Piget; The Art of Thomas Hardy, 
London, 1916 

BQrlQ, Lina V/righti GeorgQ Eliot and Thomas Hardy, 
Nqw TorJt, Mitchell KennerlQy, 1917, 

Nqw Review II, pp. 1^ - 22 Article by Thomas Hardy, 
Candour in English Fiction, 

New Review IV, pp, ^ij - 20, Article by Thomas Hardy, 
The Science of Fiction,